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Moorish Empire 





Corduba famosa locuples de nomine dicta, 
Inclyta deliciis, rebus quoque splendida cunctis 

Hroswitha, Passio S. Pelagh 

VOL. I. 




Copyright, 1904 
By J. B. Lippincott Company 

Published March, 1904 

Printed by J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, V. S. A. 


This work has engaged the attention of the au- 
thor for more than twenty years. Its object is an 
attempt to depict the civilization of that great race 
whose achievements in science, literature, and the arts 
have been the inspiration of the marvellous progress 
of the present age. The review of this wide-spread 
influence, whose ramifications extend to the limits of 
both Europe and America, has required the introduc- 
tion of some matter apparently extraneous, but which, 
when considered in its general relations to the subject, 
will be found to be not foreign to the purpose of these 

The list of authorities cited does not, by any means, 
include all that have been examined. Many, from 
which comparatively few facts have been gleaned, 
have been omitted. Among the works that have been 
made the subject of careful research, and have yielded 
most valuable information in addition to the Arabic 
and Spanish chronicles are those of Al-Makkari, 
Romev, Rosseuw St. Hilaire, Le Bon, Sedillot, and 
Casiri. The utter unreliability of Conde, who com- 
piled the only detailed history of the Moors of Spain, 
is well known, and his statements have not been 
adopted except when amply verified. The histories 
of the late R. Dozy, Professor in the University of 
Leyden, which for learning, accuracy, impartiality, 
and critical acumen have few rivals in this branch of 
literature, have been the principal dependence of the 
author, who gladly takes this opportunity to acknowl- 
edge his obligations to the labors of one whose genius 

vi Preface 

and attainments are recognized by every Oriental 
scholar in Europe. 

It may seem a work of supererogation to traverse 
once more a portion of the ground covered by Irving 
and Prescott. The final episode in the fall of a great 
empire could not, however, with propriety be omitted. 
Moreover, the accounts of these two famous writers 
swarm with errors, as any one can readily discover 
who will consult the chronicles of Pulgar and Bern- 
aldez, eye-witnesses, and consequently the most re- 
liable authorities concerning what they relate. The 
quotations of Irving, it may be added, indicate a sur- 
prising want of familiarity with the Castilian lan- 

That writer best fulfils the office of an historian 
who passes before the mind of the reader, as in a 
panorama, not merely the more striking events o'f war 
and diplomacy, but circumstances often regarded as 
unimportant, yet which illustrate, as no others can do, 
the condition of the masses as well as the policy of 
the prince ; which indicate the condition of public and 
private morals; which exhibit the effects of domestic 
manners, of ingenious inventions, of literary progress 
and artistic development ; which reveal the unfolding 
of national taste which present, in short, the portrait- 
ure of every material and intellectual feature neces- 
sary to the elucidation of the character, the aspira- 
tions, and the foibles of a people. With this end in 
view, sources of information usually regarded as be- 
neath the dignity of an historical work have been 
drawn on for material in the following pages. 

The author cherishes no feeling of animosity to- 
wards the Spanish people. He remembers with 
pleasure a long sojourn among them. He can never 
forget the dignified courtesy of their men, the incom- 
parable grace and fascinations of their women. Their 
faults are those entailed by a pernicious inheritance 



and a corrupt religion, which have perverted their 
principles, destroyed their power, and tarnished their 

As the greater part of this book was written before 
1898, any unfavorable criticism of Spanish politics or 
manners which it contains must be attributed to a de- 
sire to adhere to historic truth, and not to a contemp- 
tible prejudice engendered by our unfortunate " War 
of Humanity." 

Philadelphia, 1903. 





Topography of Arabia Its History Influence of Other 
Nations Ancient Civilization Commerce Persist- 
ence of Customs and Language Character of the 
Bedouin His Independence His Predatory Instincts 
Power of Tribal Connection War the Normal Con- 
dition of Existence in the Desert The Virtues and 
Vices of the Arabs Blood-Revenge and its Destruc- 
tive Consequences Absence of Caste Condition of 
Woman Marriage Religion Astral Worship Idol- 
atry Phallicism Human Sacrifices Importance and 
Power of the Jews Christianity in Arabia Poetry, its 
Subjects and Character The Moallakat Popularity of 
the Arab Poet His License Influence of Arabic Civi- 
lization and Culture on Subsequent Ages 1 



Comparative Religion, its Interest as a Study The Benefits 
of Islam Arabia at the Birth of Mohammed Condi- 
tion of Christendom and the Byzantine Empire Popu- 
lar Idea of the Prophet His Family His Early Life 
The First Revelation Persecution of the New Sect 
The Hegira Growing Prosperity of Islam Character 
of Mohammed Causes of His Success Polygamy 
The Koran Its Arrangement, its Legends, its Sublime 
Maxims, its Absurdities Its Obligations to other Creeds 
The Kiblah The Pilgrimage and its Ceremonies 
Reforms accomplished by Islam Universal Worship of 
Force Corruption of the Religion of Mohammed Its 
Wonderful Achievements Mohammed the Apostle of 

God 57 


x Contents of Volume I. 




General Disorder following the Death of Mohammed 
Regulations of Islam Progress of the Moslem Arms 
Northern Africa, the Land of the Evening Its Fer- 
tility Its Population Expedition of Abdallah De- 
feat of the Greeks Invasion of Okbah Foundation 
of Kairoan March of Hassan Ancient Carthage Its 
Influence on Europe Its Splendid Civilization Its 
Maritime Power, its Colonies, its Resources Descrip- 
tion of the City Its Architectural Grandeur Its Har- 
bors, Temples, and Public Edifices Roman Carthage 
Its Luxury and Depravity Its Destruction by the Mos- 
lems Wars with the Berbers Musa appointed General 
His Romantic History His Character He subdues 
Al-Maghreb Africa incapable of Permanent Civiliza- 
tion 128 



Origin and Character of the Goths Their Invasion of the 
Peninsula Power of the Clergy Ecclesiastical Coun- 
cils The Jews The Visigothic Code Profound 
Wisdom of Its Enactments Provisions against Fraud 
and Injustice Severe Penalties Its Definition of the 
Law Condition of the Mechanical Arts Architecture 
Byzantine Influence Manufactures Votive Crowns 
Agriculture Literature Medicine Slave Labor 
Imitation of Roman Customs Parallel between the 
Goths and the Arabs Coincidence of Sentiments and 
Habits Causes of National Decline Permanent In- 
fluence of the Gothic Polity 16*5 



General Condition and Physical Features of the Spanish 
Peninsula Various Classes of the Population Su- 
premacy of the Church Tyranny of the Visigothic 

Contents of Volume I. xi 


Kings Fatal Policy of Witiza Accession of Roderick 
Count Julian Invasion of Tarik Battle of the 
Guadalete Its Momentous Results Progress of the 
Moslems Arrival of Musa His Success Immense 
Booty secured by the Victors Quarrel of Tarik and 
Musa Interference of the Khalif Submission of the 
Goths Musa's Vast Scheme of Conquest The Two 
Generals ordered to Damascus The Triumphal Pro- 
cession through Africa Fate of Musa Causes and 
Effects of the Moslem Occupation of Spain 204 



Abd-al-Aziz His Wise Administration His Execution 
ordered by the Khalif Ayub-Ibn-Habib His Reforms 
Al-Horr Al-Samh His Invasion of France His 
Defeat and Death Abd-al-Rahman Feud of the 
Maadites and Kahtanites Its Disastrous Effects 
Anbasah-Ibn-Sohim His Ability He penetrates to 
the Rhone and is killed Yahya-Ibn-Salmah Othman- 
Ibn-Abu-Nesa Hodheyfa-Ibn-al-Awass Al-Hay- 
tham-Ibn-Obeyd Mohammed-Ibn-Abdallah Abd- 
al-Rahman His Popularity Proclaims the Holy War 
Treason of Othman-Ibn-Abu-Nesa The Emir at- 
tempts the Conquest of France Character of Charles 
Martel Battle of Poitiers Death of Abd-al-Rahman 
Abd-al-Melik Okbah-Ibn-al-Hej aj His Wisdom 
and Capacity Charles Martel ravages Provence 
Berber Revolt in Africa Victory of the Rebels Abd- 
al-Melik-Ibn-Kottam Balj-Ibn-Beschr Thalaba 
Abu-al-Khattar Condition of Western Europe 
Unstable and Corrupt Administration of the Emirs 
Importance of the Battle of Poitiers 266 



The Northern Provinces of Spain Their Desolate and 
Forbidding Character Climate Population Religion 
Peculiarities of the Asturian Peasantry Pelayus 
His Birth and Antecedents He collects an Army 

xii Contents of Volume I. 


Obscure Origin of the Spanish Kingdom Extraordi- 
nary Conditions under which it was founded Battle of 
Covadonga Rout of the Arabs Increase of the Chris- 
tian Power Favila Alfonso I. His Enterprise and 
Conquests His Policy of Colonization Survival of 
the Spirit of Liberty Religious Abuses State of 
Society Beginning of the Struggle for Empire 337 



The Ommeyade Family Its Origin Its Hostility to Mo- 
hammed The Syrian Princes Their Profligacy 
Splendors of Damascus Luxury of the Syrian Capi- 
tal Rise of the Abbasides Proscription of the De- 
feated Faction Escape of Abd-al-Rahman His 
Romantic Career He enters Spain His Success 
Defeat and Dethronement of Yusuf Constant In- 
surrections Enterprise of the Khalif of Bagdad 
Its Disastrous Termination Invasion of Charlemagne 
Slaughter of Roncesvalles Death of Abd-al-Rahman 
His Character His Services to Civilization Foun- 
dation of the Great Mosque The Franks reconquer 
Septimania 367 



Custom of Royal Succession violated by the Will of Abd-al- 
Rahman Accession of Hischem Revolt of Suleyman 
and Abdallah They are routed and their Armies dis- 
persed Clemency of the Emir Invasion of Septi- 
mania Defeat of the Franks Indecisive Results of 
the Campaign Public Works of Hischem His Noble 
Character His Partiality for Theologians The 
Southern Suburb of Cordova Death of Hischem 
General Distrust of Al-Hakem Suleyman and Abdal- 
lah again in Rebellion Civil War The Gothic March 
Siege and Capture of Barcelona Apathy of the 
Emir Importance of the Conquest The Edrisite 
Dynasty Disturbances at Toledo " The Day of 
the Ditch" The Royal Body-Guard Revolt of the 

Contents of Volume I. xiii 


Faquis Its Results League of the Asturian and 
Frankish Princes Legend of St. James the Apostle 
Death of Al-Hakem His Character 421 



Accession of Abd-al-Rahman II. Defection of Abdallah 
Invasion of the Gothic March Embassy from the 
Greek Emperor Revolt of Merida Sedition at Toledo 
Incursion of the Normans Persecution of the Chris- 
tians Death of Abd-al-Rahman His Love of Pomp 
His Virtues His Patronage of Art and Letters 
Ziryab His Versatility Conspiracy of Tarub Strata- 
gem of Mohammed His Bigotry Toledo again Re- 
volts Rise of the Beni-Kasi War with the Asturias 
Rebellion of Ibn-Merwan The Serrania de Ronda 
Ibn-Hafsun, his Origin and Exploits Death and 
Character of Mohammed Incipient Decadence of the 
Moslem Power 475 



Parallel between the Policy of the Moorish and Asturian 
Courts Alfonso III. His Conquests Energy of Al- 
Mondhir Siege of Bobastro Stratagem of Ibn-Haf sun 
The Emir is Poisoned Abdallah ascends the Throne 
Conditions of Parties and Sects Prevalence of Dis- 
order Insurrection at Elvira Success of the Arab 
Faction Disturbances at Seville General Disaffection 
of the Provinces Ibn-Hafsun defeated at Aguilar 
Disastrous and Permanent Effects of the Continuance 
of Anarchy Sudden Death of Abdallah Important 
Political Changes wrought by a Generation of Civil 
Warfare 529 



Eminent Qualities of the New Ruler His Firmness Rapid 
Subjection of the Rebel Territory Dissensions of the 

xiv Contents of Volume I. 


Christians Defeat of Ibn-Abi-Abda Death of Ibn- 
Hafsun Impaired Power of the Arab Nobles War 
with the Fatimites of Africa Rout of Junquera Abd- 
al-Rahman assumes the Title of Khalif Its Signifi- 
cance Invasion of Castile Reverse of Alhandega 
Civil Wars of the Christians The Princes of Leon and 
Navarre visit the Moslem Court Abd-al-Rahman dies 
at the Age of Seventy Years His Remarkable Achieve- 
ments The Greek and German Embassies The Sara- 
cens in France and Italy The Slaves and their Influ- 
ence Plot of Abdallah Condition of the Country 
under Abd-al-Rahman III. Cordova Its Wealth and 
Magnificence The Royal Villas The City and Palace 
of Medina-al-Zahra Melancholy Reflections of the 
Greatest of the Khalif s 563 



Splendid Ceremonial at the Accession of Al-Hakem II. 
His Wise and Prudent Measures Ordofio seeks an Au- 
dience His Baseness Successful Expedition against 
the Christians Disturbances in Africa Army of the 
Khalif Defeated The Berber Chieftains are corrupted, 
and their Forces disband Importance of Cordova as a 
Religious Centre Description of the Great Mosque 
Death of Al-Hakem His Literary Attainments His 
Patronage of Letters The Library Institutions of 
Learning General Prevalence of Education Public 
Improvements The Khalif the Exemplar of the High- 
est Culture of his Age Prosperity of the Empire. . . . 634 



Origin of Ibn-abi-Amir-Al-Mansur The Scene in the Gar- 
den Genius and Attainments of the Youthful States- 
man His Sudden Rise to Power Influence of the 

Eunuchs Their Conspiracy Detected Ibn-abi-Amir 

aspires to Supreme Authority He is appointed Ha jib 
Ruin of his Rivals Reorganization of the Civil and 
Military Service Systematic Degradation of Hischem 

Contents of Volume I. xv 


The Palace of Zahira The Hajib becomes Master 
of the Empire Successful Wars with the Christians 
Disturbances in Africa Destruction of Leon Sack 
of Santiago Death of Al-Mansur His Great Services 
to the State His Unbroken Series of Military Tri- 
umphs Al-Modhaffer Abd-al-Rahman Moham- 
med Suleyman Disappearance of Hischem Rapid 
Disintegration of the Empire 683 


(To promote facility of reference, the following list has been 
classified not only alphabetically by authors, but also by lan- 


Al-Hariri Makaruat. 8vo. London, 1850. 

Ali Bey Travels. 2 vols. 4to. London, 1816. 

Al-Makkari History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain. 
2 vols. 4to. London, 1840. 

Anderson History of Commerce. 4< vols. 4to. London, 1789. 

Arnold Ishmael: The Natural History of Islamism. 8vo. 
London, 1859- 

Beattie Castles and Abbeys of England. 2 vols. 8vo. London. 

Berington Literary History of the Middle Ages. 4to. Lon- 
don, 1814. 

Blunt A Pilgrimage to Nejd. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1881. 

Bosworth-Smith Mohammed and Mohammedanism. 8vo. Lon- 
don, 1876. 

Bower History of the Popes. 3 vols. 8vo. Philadelphia, 1844. 

Brand Popular Antiquities. 8vo. London, 1810. 

Burckhardt Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabys. 2 vols. 8vo. 
London, 1831. 

Burckhardt Travels in Arabia. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1829. 

Burckhardt Travels in Nubia. 4to. London, 1822. 

Burton A Pilgrimage to Medina and Mecca. 12mo. New 
York, 1856. 

Chronicle of London 1089-1483. 4to. London, 1827. 

Cosmo III. Travels in England. Folio. London, 1821. 

Cutts Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages. 8vo. Lon- 
don, 1886. 

Davenport-Adams Witch, Warlock, and Magician. 8vo. Lon- 
don, 1889. 

Davenport An Apology for Mohammed and the Koran. 8vo. 
London, 1869- 

Davis Carthage and her Remains. 8vo. London, 1861. 

Deutz Islam. 8vo. London. 

D 'Israeli Curiosities of Literature. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 
b xvii 

xviii Authorities Consulted 

Draper History of the Intellectual Development of Europe. 
8vo. New York, 1875. 

Emillianne History of the Monastic Orders. 12mo. London, 

Fergusson History of Architecture. 2 vols. 8vo. New York, 

Finlay History of the Byzantine Empire. 8vo. London, 1856. 

Finn History of the Jews in Spain and Portugal. 8vo. Lon- 
don, 184-1. 

Fort Medical Economy during the Middle Ages. 8vo. New 
York, 1883. 

Fosbrooke British Monachism. 8vo. London, 1843. 

Frith Life of Giordano Bruno. 8vo. London, 1887. 

Gibbon History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 
8 vols. 8vo. London, 1855. 

Hall Chronicle of England. 4to. London, 1809- 

Hall Society in the Elizabethan Age. 8vo. London, 1886. 

Hardy Eastern Monachism. 8vo. London, 1850. 

Hazlitt Popular Antiquities of Great Britain. 3 vols. 8vo. 
London, 1870. 

Hecker The Epidemics of the Middle Ages. 8vo. London, 

Higgins An Apology for the Life and Character of Moham- 
med. 8vo. London, 1829- 

Hodgetts The English in the Middle Ages. 8vo. London, 

Hone Ancient Mysteries Described. 8vo. London, 1823. 

Hone Popular Works. 4 vols. 8vo. London. 

Howitt History of the Supernatural. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 

Hueffer The Troubadours. 8vo. London, 1878. 

Ibn-al-Hakem History of the Mohammedan Conquest of Spain. 
8vo. Gottingen, 1858. 

Ibn-Haukal Oriental Geography. 4to. London, 1800. 

Ibn-Khallikan Biographical Dictionary. 4 vols. 4to. Lon- 
don, 1842. 

Isaacs Ceremonies, Customs, etc. of the Jews. 8vo. London. 

Jackson An Account of the Empire of Morocco. 4to. Lon- 
don, 1809. 

Jennings Phallicism. 8vo. London, 1884. 

Jennings The Rosicrucians. 8vo. London, 1879- 

Jessup The Women of the Arabs. 8vo. New York. 

Jones History of the Waldenses. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1816. 

Jones Moallakat. 4to. London, 1783. 

Authorities Consulted xix 

Jones The Alhambra. 2 vols. Folio. London, 1830. 
Jones Works. 7 vols. 4to. London, 1804. 
Kenrick History of Phoenicia. 8vo. London, 1845. 
Kingsley Alexandria and Her Schools. 8vo. Cambridge, 1854. 
Kington History of Frederick II. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1862. 
Knight Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology. 

8vo. Boston, 1836. 
Knight The Normans in Sicily. 8vo. London. 1838. 
Knight The Worship of Priapus. 4to. London, 1865. 
Koeller Mohammed and Mohammedanism. 8vo. London, 

Kroeger The Minnesingers of Germany. 8vo. New York, 

Lacroix The Arts of the Middle Ages. Folio. London. 
Lane Arabian Society in the Middle Ages. 8vo. London, 

Lane Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians. 2 vols. 

8vo. London, 1842. 
Lane-Poole The Art of the Saracens in Egypt. 8vo. Lon- 
don, 1886. 
Lane-Poole The Speeches of Mohammed. 12mo. London, 

Lea History of Sacerdotal Celibacy. 8vo. Philadelphia, 1867. 
Lea Superstition and Force. 8vo. Philadelphia, 1866. 
Lewis An Essay on the Origin and Formation of the Romance 

Languages. 8vo. London, 1839. 
Lewis Historical Survey of the Astronomy of the Ancients. 

8vo. London, 1862. 
Limborch History of the Inquisition. 4to. London, 1731. 
Lindo History of the Jews in Spain and Portugal. 8vo. Lon- 
don, 1848. 
Macaulay History of England. 5 vols. 8vo. New York. 
Maitland The Albigenses and Waldenses. 8vo. London, 

Maitland The Dark Ages. 8vo. London, 1844. 
Malcolm Anecdotes of the Manners and Customs of London. 

6 vols. 8vo. London, 1810. 
Markham Irrigation in Eastern Spain. 8vo. London. 
McLennan Studies in Ancient History. 8vo. London, 1876. 
McMurdo History of Portugal. 8vo. London, 1888. 
Meer Hassan Ali Observations on the Mussulmans of India. 

2 vols. 8vo. London, 1832. 
Merrick Life and Religion of Mohammed. 8vo. Boston, 1850. 

xx Authorities Consulted 

Milman History of Latin Christianity. 8 vols. 8vo. New 
York, 1859. 

Mum Annals of the Early Caliphate. 8vo. London, 1883. 

Mum Life of Mohammed. 8vo. London, 1878. 

Murphy History of the Mahometan Empire in Spain. 4to. 
London, 1816. 

Newton Principia. 8vo. New York. 

Ockley History of the Saracens. 8vo. London. 1848. 

Omarah Yaman. 8vo. London, 1892. 

Osborn Islam under the Khalifs of Bagdad. 8vo. London, 

Palgrave A Year's Journey through Central and Eastern 
Arabia. 12mo. New York, 1871. 

Palgrave Essays on Eastern Subjects. 8vo. London, 1872. 

Pettigrew Superstitions connected with the Practice of Medi- 
cine. 8vo. London, 1844. 

Plumptre History of Pantheism. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1879- 

Price Essay toward the History of Arabia. 4to. London, 

Rhoidis Pope Joan. 8vo. London, 1886. 

Russell The Natural History of Aleppo. 4to. London, 1856. 

Rutherford The Troubadours. 8vo. London, 1873. 

Shurrief Customs of the Mussulmans of India. 8vo. Lon- 
don, 1832. 

Smith Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia. 8vo. Cam- 
bridge, 1885. 

Stirling-Maxwell Don John of Austria. 2 vols. 8vo. 
London, 1883. 

Syed-Ahmed Essays on the Life of Mohammed. 8vo. London, 

Thomson History of Chemistry. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1830. 

Urquhart The Pillars of Hercules. 2 vols. 8vo. New York, 

Wellsted Travels in Arabia. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1837- 

Williams On Hinduism. 12mo. London, 1882. 

Wright Early Christianity in Arabia. 8vo. London, 1855. 

Wright Manners and Sentiments of England during the 
Middle Ages. 4to. London, 1862. 

Wright Narratives of Sorcery and Magic. 2 vols. 8vo. Lon- 
don, 1851. 

Wright Womankind in Western Europe. 4to. London, 1869. 

Authorities Consulted xxi 


Abd-al-Rahman-al-Sufi Description des fitoiles Fixes. 4to. 

St. Petersbourg, 1874. 
Abd-al-Rezzaq Traite de Matiere Medicale Arabe. 8vo. Paris, 

Abd-el-Halim Roudh-el-Kartas. 8vo. Paris, 1859- 
Abul Hassan Ali Lettres. 8vo. Paris. 
Al-Kaliouby Quelques Chapitres de Medecine Arabe. 8vo. 

Paris, 1856. 

Anecdotes Arabes et Musulmanes. 12mo. Paris, 1772. 

Arcoleo Palerme et la Civilisation en Sicile. 8vo. Paris, 1898. 
Arnoult Memoires de la Langue Romane. 3 vols. 8vo. Tou- 
louse, 1842. 
Astruc Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire de la Faculte de 

Medecine de Montpellier. 4to. Paris, 1777. 
Aubertin Histoire de la Langue et la Litterature Francaises 

au Moyen Age. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1876. 
Babelon Du Commerce des Arabes dans le Nord de l'Europe. 

8vo. Paris, 1882. 
Bailly Histoire de l'Astronomie Ancienne et Moderne. 5 vols. 

4to. Paris, 1781. 
Baissac Les Grands Jours de la Sorcellerie. 8vo. Paris, 1890. 
Barbier de Meynard Ibrahim. 8vo. Paris, 1869. 
Baret Espagne et Provence. 8vo. Paris, 1857. 
Baret Les Troubadours. 8vo. Paris, 1857. 
Barges Histoire des Beni-Zeiyan, Rois de Tlemcen. 8vo. Paris, 

Barges Recherches sur les Colonies Pheniciennes. 8vo. Paris, 

Barges Tlemcen. 8vo. Paris, 1859. 

Barrau Monfort et les Albigeois. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1840. 
Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire Du Bouddhisme. 8vo. Paris, 

Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire Mahomet et le Coran. 8vo. Paris, 

Basset La Poesie Arabe Ante-Islamique. 12mo. Paris, 1880. 
Batissier Histoire de l'Art Monumental. 8vo. Paris, I860. 
Baudrillart Histoire du Luxe. 4 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1880. 
Bayet L'Art Byzantin. 8vo. Paris. 
Bazancourt Histoire de la Sicile sous la Domination des Nor- 

mands. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1846. 
Beaudrimont Histoire des Basques. 8vo. Paris, 1867. 
Bedarride Les Juifs en France, Italie, et Espagne. 8vo. 

Paris, 1861. 

xxii Authorities Consulted 

Belin Du Regime des Fiefs Militaires dans l'lslamisme. 8vo. 

Paris, 1870. 
Benetrix Les Femmes Troubadours. 8vo. Paris, 1890. 
Berger L'Arabie avant Mahomet. 8vo. Paris, 1883. 
Berthelot Les Origines de l'Alchimie. 8vo. Paris, 1885. 
Bertherand Medecine et Hygiene des Arabes. 8vo. Paris. 
Biot L'Astronomie Indienne et Chinoise. 8vo. Paris, 1862. 
Boell Histoire de la Corse. 8vo. Marseille, 1878. 
Boisgelin Malte Ancienne et Moderne. 3 vols. 8vo. 1809- 
Bordier L'Art Byzantin. 4to. Paris, 1885. 
Boucher Deux Poetes Ante-Islamiques. 8vo. Paris, 1867. 
Bourgoin Les Arts Arabes. 4to. Paris. 
Boutharic Traite des Droits Seigneureaux. 4to. Toulouse, 

Bruce-Whyte Histoire des Langues Romanes. 3 vols. 8vo. 

Paris, 1841. 
Burnouf Essai sur Le Veda. 8vo. Paris, 1863. 
Cadoz Civilite Musulmane. 12mo. Alger, 1889. 
Capefigue Histoire de France au Moyen Age. 4 vols. 8vo. 

Bruxelles, 1843. 
Capefigue Histoire Philosophique des Juifs. 8vo. Bruxelles, 

Cardonne Histoire de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne. 3 vols. 

12mo. Paris, 1765. 
Cardonne Melange de la Litterature Orientale. 12mo. Paris, 

Catel Histoire de Languedoc. Folio. Tolose, 1633. 
Catel Histoire des Comtes de Tolose. Folio. Tolose, 1623. 
Caussin de Perceval Essai sur l'Histoire des Arabes avant 

l'lslamisme. 3 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1847. 
Chapo et Belzunce Histoire des Basques. 3 vols. 8vo. 

Paris, 1847. 
Chaumeil de Stella Essai sur l'Histoire de Portugal. 8vo. 

Chenier Recherches Historiques sur les Maures. 3 vols. 8vo. 

Paris, 1787. 
Cherrier Histoire de la Lutte des Papes. 4 vols. 8vo. Paris, 

Chiarini Le Talmud de Babylone. 8vo. Leipzig. 1831. 
Choiseul-Dallecourt De l'lnfluence des Croisades. 8vo. 

Paris, 1809. 
Christianowitsch Esquisse Historique de la Musique Arabe. 


Authorities Consulted xxiii 

Circourt Histoire des Mores Mudejares et des Morisques. 3 

vols. 8vo. Paris, 1846. 
Clot-Bey Apercu General sur l'figypte. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 

Coupry Traite de la Versification Arabe. 8vo. Leipzig, 1875. 
Coypel Le Judai'sme. 8vo. Paris, 1877. 
Daremberg Histoire des Sciences Medicales. 2 vols. 8vo. 

Paris, 1870. 
Daumas La Vie Arabe. 8vo. Paris. 
Davillier Histoire des Faiences Hispano-Moresques. 8vo. 

Paris, 1861. 
Davillier Les Arts Decoratifs en Espagne. 8vo. Paris, 1879- 
Davillier Notice sur les Cuirs de Cordoue. 8vo. Paris, 1878. 
Davillier Origines de la Porcelaine en Europe. 4to. Paris, 

Delambre Histoire de l'Astronomie Ancienne. 2 vols. 4to. 

Paris, 1817. 
Delaporte Vie de Mahomet. 8vo. Paris, 1874. 
De lTsle Des Talismans. 12mo. Paris, 1636. 
Denis Chroniques et Traditions Provencales. 8vo. Toulon, 

De Parctelaine Histoire de la Guerre contre les Albigeois. 

8vo. Paris, 1833. 
Depping Histoire du Commerce entre le Levant et l'Europe. 

2 vols. 8vo. 1830. 
Depping Les Juifs dans le Moyen Age. 8vo. Paris, 1834. 
De Rochat Les Parias de France et d'Espagne. 8vo. Paris, 

De Sacy Chrestomatie Arabe. 3 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1826. 
De Sacy Memoires sur l'Histoire des Arabes avant Mahomet. 

4to. Paris. 
De Saulcy Histoire de l'Art Judaique. 8vo. Paris, 1858. 
Desvergers Arabic 8vo. Paris, 1847. 
D'Herbelot Bibliotheque Orientale. 6 vols. 8vo. Paris, 

Dinaux Les Trouveres Artesiens. 8vo. Paris, 1843. 
Douais Les Albigeois. 8vo. Paris, 1879- 

Dozy Essai sur l'Histoire de l'lslamisme. 8vo. Leyde, 1879- 
Dozy Glossaire des Mots Espagnols et Portugais derives de 

l'Arabe. 8vo. Leyde, 1869- 
Dozy Histoire des Musulmans d'Espagne. 4 vols. 8vo. Leyde, 

Dozy Le Cid. 8vo. Leyde, I860. 
Dozy Notices sur Quelques Manuscrits. 8vo. Leyde, 1847. 

xxiv Authorities Consulted 

Dozy Recherches sur l'Histoire et la Litterature de l'Espagne 

pendant le Moyen Age. 2 vols. 8vo. Leyde, I860. 
Dubois Histoire de l'Horlogerie. 4to. Paris, 1849- 
Dugat Histoire des Philosophes Musulmans. 8vo. Paris, 1878. 
Dugat Traite de Medecine d'Abou Djafar. 8vo. Paris, 1853. 
Dupouy Le Moyen Age Medical. 12mo. Paris, 1880. 
Egger L'Hellenisme en France. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1869- 
El-Bekri Description de l'Afrique Septentrionale. 8vo. 

Paris, 1859. 
Fabre Le Troubadour. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1843. 
Fauriel Histoire de la Gaule Meridionale. 4 vols. 8vo. Paris, 

Fauriel Histoire de la Poesie Proven9ale. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 

Ferreras Histoire Generale d'Espagne. 10 vols. 4to. Paris, 

Fetis Histoire de la Musique. 5 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1869- 
Figuier L'Alchimie et les Alchimistes. 12mo. Paris, 1856. 
Fleury Histoire Ecclesiastique. 6 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1844. 
Fluckiger et Hanbury Histoire des Drogues Vegetales. 2 

vols. 8vo. Paris, 1878. 
Fouriel Conquete de l'Afrique par les Arabes. 2 vols. 4to. 

Fournel Les Berberes. 2 vols. 4to. Paris, 1875. 
Franck La Kabbale. 8vo. Paris, 1843. 
Freguier Les Juifs Algeriens. 8vo. Paris, 1865. 
Fresnel Lettre sur l'Histoire des Arabes avant l'lslamisme. 

8vo. Paris, 1836. 
Gagnier La Vie de Mahomet. 12mo. Amsterdam, 1732. 
Garcin de Tassy Memoire sur les Noms Propres et les Titres 

Musulmans. 8vo. Paris, 1878. 
Garnier Celibat et les Celibataires. 12mo. Paris, 1889. 
Garnier Histoire de la Verrerie. 8vo. Tours, 1886. 
Gastineau Les Femmes et les Mceurs d'Algerie. 12mo. Paris. 
Gaufridi Histoire de Provence. 2 vols. Folio. Aix, 1694. 
Gauttier d'Arc Histoire des Conquetes des Normands en Italie, 

en Sicile, et en Grece. 8vo. Paris, 1830. 
Ghazzali Le Preservatif de l'Erreur. 8vo. Paris, 1878. 
Girault de Prangey Essai sur l'Architecture des Arabes et 

des Maures. 4to. Paris, 1842. 
Goldzieher Le Culte des Ancetres chez les Arabes. 8vo. 

Paris, 1885. 
Graetz Les Juifs d'Espagne. 8vo. Paris, 1872. 

Authorities Consulted xxv 

Grangeret de Lagrange Les Arabes en Espagne. 8vo. Paris, 

Guardia La Medecine a travers les Siecles. 8vo. Paris, 1865. 
Guizot Collection des Memoires relatifs a l'Histoire de la 

France. 31 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1824. 
Guizot Histoire de la Civilisation en France. 4 vols. 8vo. 

Paris, 1846. 
Guyard La Civilisation Musulmane. 12mo. Paris, 1884. 
Guyard Theorie de la Metrique Arabe. 8vo. Paris. 

Histoire des Papes. 10 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1844. 

Hoefer Histoire de la Chimie. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris. 
Hoefer Histoire des Mathematiques. 12mo. Paris, 1874. 
Hovelacque L'Avesta. 8vo. Paris, 1880. 
Huillard-Breholles Histoire Diplomatique de Frederic II. 

4to. Paris, 1859- 
Huillard-Breholles La Vie de Pierre de la Vigne. 8vo. 

Paris, 1865. 
Ibn-al-Awam Le Livre de l'Agriculture. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 

Ibn-el-Beithar Traite des Simples. 3 vols. 4to. Paris, 

Ibn-Haukal Description de Palerme au X Siecle. 8vo. Paris, 

Ibn-Khaldun Histoire des Berberes. 4 vols. 8vo. Alger, 

Jacob Curiosites de l'Histoire du Moyen Age. 12mo. Paris, 

Jacobi Histoire de la Corse. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1833. 
Jagnaux Histoire de la Chimie. 2 vols. ' 8vo. Paris, 1891. 
Jaubert de Passa Voyage en Espagne. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 

Jomard Etudes sur l'Arabie. 8vo. Paris, 1839. 
La Beaume Le Coran Analyse. 8vo. Paris, 1878. 
Labessade Le Droit du Seigneur. 8vo. Paris, 1878. 
Lacroix Moeurs et Usages au Moyen Age. 8vo. Paris, 1878. 
Lacroix Sciences et Lettres au Moyen Age. Folio. Paris, 

Langle Historial du Jongleur. 8vo. Paris, 1829. 
La Primaudaie Les Arabes en Sicile et en Italic 8vo. Paris, 

La Roque Voyage dans l'Arabie Heureuse. 12mo. Paris, 

Lebeau Histoire du Bas Empire. 13 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1820. 
Le Bon La Civilisation des Arabes. 8vo. Paris, 1884. 

xxvi Authorities Consulted 

Lebrun Histoire Secrete des Couvents. 12mo. Bruxelles. 

Leclerc Abul Casis. 8vo. Paris, 1874. 

Leclerc Histoire de la Medecine Arabe. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 

Lenient La Satire en France au Moyen Age. 8vo. Paris, 

Lenormant La Grande Grece. 12mo. Paris, 1881. 
Lenormant La Divination. 8vo. Paris, 1875. 
Lenormant Les Premieres Civilisations. 8vo. Paris, 1874. 
Lentheric La Grece et l'Orient en Provence. 12mo. Paris, 

Letourneaux La Kabylie et les Coutumes Kabyles. 3 vols. 

8vo. Paris, 1872. 
Linguet Essai Philosophique sur le Monachisme. 12mo. 

Paris, 1777. 
Llorente Histoire de l'lnquisition d'Espagne. 4 vols. 8vo. 

Paris, 1817. 
Louis-Lande Basques et Navarrais. 8vo. Paris, 1878. 
Lucas Documents sur le Cid. 8vo. Paris, I860. 
Magen Les Pretres et les Moines a. travers les Ages. 8vo. 

Paris, 1857. 
Makrizi Histoire des Sultans Mamlouks. 2 vols. 4to. Paris, 

Makrizi Traite des Monnaies Musulmanes. 8vo. Paris. 
Mandel Histoire de la Langue Romane. 8vo. Paris, 1840. 
Marchand Moines et Nonnes. 12mo. Paris, 1881. 
Marmol L'Afrique. 3 vols. 4to. Paris, 1667. 
Martin Les Signes Numeraux chez les Peuples de l'Antiquite 

et du Moyen Age. 4to. Rome, 1864. 
Martonne La Piete du Moyen Age. 8vo. Paris, 1855. 
Mas Latrie Histoire de l'lsle de Chypre. 3 vols. 8vo. Paris, 

Mas Latrie Traites de Paix des Arabes du Moyen Age. 

Folio. Paris, 1866. 
Maury Croyances et Legendes de l'Antiquite. 8vo. Paris, 

Maury Essai sur les Legendes Pieuses du Moyen Age. 8vo. 

Paris, 1843. 
Maury Histoire des Religions de la Grece Antique. 3 vols. 

8vo. Paris, 1857. 
Maury La Magie et l'Astrologie. 12mo. Paris, I860. 
Menant Zoroastre. 8vo. Paris, 1857. 
Meray La Vie au Temps des Cours d' Amour. 8vo. Paris, 


Authorities Consulted xxvii 

Meray La Vie au Temps des Trouveres. 8vo. Paris. 
Merimee Histoire de Don Pedro I. 12mo. Paris, I860. 
Michaud Histoire des Croisades. 4 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1867- 
Michelet Histoire de France. 19 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1870. 
Michel Histoire des Races Maudites de la France et de l'Es- 

pagne. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1847. 
Michel Le Pays Basque. 8vo. Paris, 1859. 
Miege Histoire de Malte. 2 vols. 8vo. Bruxelles, 1841. 
Millot Histoire Litteraire des Troubadours. 3 vols. 12mo. 

Paris, 1774. 
Mimaut Histoire de Sardaigne. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1825. 
Mohammed-Ibn-Djobair Voyage en Sicile. 8vo. Paris, 1846. 
Moline de Saint-Yon Histoire des Comtes de Toulouse. 4 

vols. 8vo. Paris. 
Montucla Histoire des Mathematiques. 2 vols. 4to. Paris, 

Morlillaro Legendes Historiques Siciliennes. 8vo. Palermo, 

Niebuhr Description de l'Arabie. 4to. Paris, 1779- 
Oelsner Des Effets de la Religion de Mohammed. 8vo. Paris, 

Pariset Histoire de la Soie. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1862. 
Perron Femmes Arabes. 8vo. Paris, 1858. 
Perrot Histoire des Antiquites de la Ville de Nismes. 8vo. 

Nismes, 1842. 
Peyrat Histoire des Albigeois. 3 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1870. 
Pleyte La Religion des pre-Israelites. 8vo. Utrecht, 1862. 
Poiret Voyage en Barbaric 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1789. 
Prisse d'Avesnes La Decoration Arabe. Folio. Paris, 1885. 
Querry Le Droit Musulman. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1871. 
Ramee Histoire Generale de l'Architecture. 2 vols. 8vo. 

Paris, 1859- 
Reinaud Extraits des Historiens Arabes relatifs aux Croisades. 

8vo. Paris, 1829- 
Reinaud L'Art Militaire chez les Arabes au Moyen Age. 8vo. 

Paris, 1848. 
Reinaud Les Invasions des Sarrasins en France. 8vo. Paris. 
Reinaud Monumens Arabes, Persans, et Turcs. 2 vols. 8vo. 

Paris, 1828. 
Reinaud Notice sur Mahomet. 8vo. Paris, I860. 
Reinaud Relation des Voyages dans l'lnde. 2 vols. 18mo. 

Paris, 1845. 
Renan Averroes et l'Averroisme. 8vo. Paris, 1852. 

xxviii Authorities Consulted 

Renauldon Dictionnaire des Fiefs et des Droits Seigneureaux. 

4to. Paris, 1765. 
FiENouard Histoire de la Medecine. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 

Romey Histoire d'Espagne. 9 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1839- 
Ronna Les Irrigations. 3 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1888. 
Roquaire La Papaute au Moyen Age. 8vo. Paris, 1881. 
Rosseuw Saint-Hilaire Histoire d'Espagne. 14 vols. 8vo. 

Paris, 1859. 
Sabatier Notice sur Gerbert. 8vo. Paris, 1850. 
Sainte-Pelaie Histoire Litteraire des Troubadours. 3 vols. 

12mo. Paris, 1774. 
Schmolders Essai sur les Ecoles Philosophiques chez les 

Arabes. 8vo. Paris, 1842. 
Schoebel Le Bouddhisme et ses Origines. 8vo. Paris, 1874. 
Scholl LTslam et son Fondateur. 8vo. Neuchatel, 1844. 
Sedillot Histoire Generale des Arabes. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 

Sedillot Materiaux pour servir a l'Histoire Complete des 

Sciences Mathematiques chez les Orientaux. 2 vols. 8vo. 

Paris, 1845. 
Sedillot Memoire sur les Systemes Geographiques des Arabes. 

8vo. Paris, 1842. 
Sedillot Prolegomenes des Tables Astronomiques d'Oloug Beg. 

8vo. Paris, 1853. 
Sedillot Traite des Instruments Astronomiques des Arabes. 

4to. Paris, 1833. 
Sismondi Histoire de la Litterature du Midi de l'Europe. 4 

vols. 8vo. Paris, 1829. 
Sismondi Republiques Italiennes du Moyen Age. 10 vols. 8vo. 

Paris, 1840. 
Solvet Description du Pays de Magreb. 8vo. Alger, 1839. 
Torres Histoire des Cherifs. 4to. Paris, 1667. 
Vacherot Histoire Critique de l'Ecole d'Alexandrie. 3 vols. 

8vo. Paris, 1846. 
Vertot Histoire des Chevaliers Hospitaliers. 5 vols. 8vo. 

Amsterdam, 1732. 
Viardot Histoire des Arabes et des Mores d'Espagne. 2 vols. 

8vo. Paris, 1857. 
Viardot Scenes des Moeurs Arabes. 8vo. Paris, 1834. 
Villemain Histoire de Gregoire VII. 8vo. Paris, 1874. 
Villemain Tableau de la Litterature au Moyen Age. 8vo. 

Paris, 1878. 

Authorities Consulted xxix 

Vincent Etudes sur la Loi Musulmane Legislation Crimi- 

nelle. 8vo. Paris, 1842. 
Woepcke L'Algebre d'Omar Al-Khayymi. 8vo. Paris, 1857. 
Woepcke Memoire sur la Propagation des Chiffres Indiens. 

8vo. Paris, 1863. 
Woepcke Recherches sur l'Histoire des Sciences Mathe- 

matiques chez les Orientaux. 8vo. Paris, I860. 
Woepcke Sur l'lntroduction de l'Arithmetique en Occident. 

4to. Paris, 1859- 
Zamakhschari Les Colliers d'Or. 8vo. Paris, 1876. 
Zeller Entretiens sur l'Histoire du Moyen Age. 12mo. 

Paris, 1865. 
Zeller Histoire d'AUemagne. 7 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1872. 


Abarca Anales de Aragon. 2 vols. Folio. Salamanca, 1684. 
Aldrete Varias Antigiiedades de Espafia. 4to. Amberes, 

Almagro Inscripciones Arabes de Granada. 4to. Granada, 

Alonso el Sabio Las Siete Partidas. 3 vols. 4to. Madrid, 

Araquistan Tradiciones Vasco Cantabras. 8vo. Tolosa, 

Argote de Molina Nobleza de Andalucia. Folio. Sevilla, 

Argote Nuevos Paseos por Granada. 2 vols. 12mo. Granada, 

Baeza Ultimos Sucesos del Reino de Granada. 8vo. Madrid, 

Balaguer Historia de los Trovadores. 6 vols. 8vo. Madrid, 

Balaguer Los Reyes Catolicos. 2 vols. 8vo. Madrid, 1894. 
Bernaldez Historia de los Reyes Catolicos. 2 vols. 4to. Se- 
villa, 1870. 
Bleda Coronica de los Moros de Espafia. Folio. Valencia, 

Boix Xativa. 8vo. 1857. 

Canas De la Agricultura Espanola. l6mo. Valladolid, 1868. 
Caro Antigiiedades de Sevilla. Folio. Sevilla, 1634. 
Cascales Discursos Historicos sobre Murcia. Folio. Murcia, 

Caveda Ensayo Historico sobre los diversos generos de Archi- 

tectura en Espafia. 8vo. Madrid, 1848. 

xxx Authorities Consulted 

Caveda Cronica de Don Alvaro de Luna. Folio. Madrid, 1784. 
Cebrian Historia de los Arabes en Murcia. 8vo. Palma, 1845. 
Codera y Zaidin Tratado de Numismatica Arabigo-Espanola. 

4to. Madrid, 1879- 
Colmenares Historia de Segovia. Folio. Madrid, 1640. 
Conde Historia de la Dominacion de los Arabes en Espana. 

2 vols. 4to. Madrid, 1820. 

Contreras Monumentos Arabes. 4to. Madrid, 1878. 

Cronicas de los Reyes de Castilla. 3 vols. 8vo. Madrid, 

Dameto Historia del Reyno Balearico. 3 vols. 4to. Palma, 

Danvila y Collado La Expulsion de los Moriscos. 8vo. 

Madrid, 1889- 
De la Pena Anales de Cataluna. 3 vols. Folio. Barcelona, 

De los Rios El Arte Latino-Byzantino. 4to. Madrid, 1861. 
De los Rios Historia de los Judios de Espana. 3 vols. 8vo. 

Madrid, 1876. 
De los Rios Inscripciones Arabes de Cordoba y Sevilla. 8vo. 

Madrid, 1879- 
De los Rios Sevilla Pintoresca. 4to. Sevilla, 1844. 
De los Rios Toledo Pintoresca. 4to. Madrid, 1845. 
Del Valle Anales de la Inquisicion. 8vo. Madrid, 1868. 
De Schack Poesfa y Arte de los Arabes en Espana y Sicilia. 

3 vols. 12mo. Madrid, 1872. 

Diago Historia de los Condes de Barcelona. Folio. Barce- 
lona, 1603. 

Duro Memorias de Zamora. 4 vols. 8vo. Madrid, 1883. 

Echevarria Paseos por Granada. 2 vols. 8vo. Granada, 

Escolano Historia de Valencia. 2 vols. Folio. Valencia, 

Flechier Historia del Cardenal Ximenes. 8vo. Lyons, 1712. 

Florez Espana Sagrada. 51 vols. 4to. Madrid, 1754. 

Galiano Historia de Espana. 4 vols. 8vo. Madrid, 1844. 

Garibay Compendio Historial de las Chronicas. 2 vols. 
Folio. Barcelona, 1628. 

Gomez-Miedes Historia del Rey Don Jayme I. de Aragon. 
Folio. Valencia, 1584. 

Gongora Historia de Navarra. 4to. Pamplona, 1628. 

Guadalajara y Xavierr Memorable Expulsion de los Moris- 
cos de Espana. 4to. Pamplona, 1613. 

Authorities Consulted xxxi 

Hurtado de Mendoza Guerra de Granada contra los Moris- 
cos. 4to. 1 776. 

Ibn-Aljathib Descripcion del Reino de Granada. 8vo. 
Madrid, I860. 

Janer Condicion Social de los Moriscos de Espana. 8vo. 
Madrid, 1857- 

Jimena Anales de Jaen y Baeza. 4to. Matriti, 1654. 

Lafuente-Alcantara El Libro del Viajero en Granada. 
l6mo. Granada, 184-3. 

Lafuente-Alcantara Historia de Granada. 2 vols. 8vo. 
Paris, 1852. 

Lafuente-Alcantara Inscripciones Arabes de Granada. 8vo. 
Madrid, 1859- 

Lafuente Historia General de Espana. 6 vols. 4to. Bar- 
celona, 1882. 

Lozano Los Reyes Nuevos de Toledo. 4to. Valencia, 1698. 

Madrazo Cordova. 4to. Madrid, 1855. 

Madrazo Sevilla y Cadiz. 4to. Madrid, 1856. 

Mariana Historia General de Espana. 2 vols. Folio. Mad- 
rid, 1650. 

Marmol-Carvajal Historia de la Rebelion y Castigo de los 
Moriscos. 4to. Madrid, 1797. 

Martinez de la Rosa Obras. 8vo. Paris, 1844. 

Masdeu Historia Critica de Espana. 20 vols. 4to. Madrid, 


Memorial Historico Espanol. 21 vols. 4to. Madrid, 


Memorias de la Real Academia de Historia. 11 vols. 

4to. Madrid, 1796-1888. 

Menandez-Valdez La Monarchia Asturiana. 4to. Madrid. 

Mesa-Ginete Historia de Jerez de la Frontera. 2 vols. 4to. 
Jerez, 1888. 

Mila y Fontenals De los Trovadores en Espana. 8vo. 
Barcelona, 1861. 

Molino Rodrigo el Campeador. 4to. Madrid, 1857- 

Mondejar Memorias del Rei Alonso el Sabio. Folio. Mad- 
rid, 1777. 

Morales Coronica General de Espana. 15 vols. 4to. Mad- 
rid, 1791- 

Moreti Historia de Ronda. 4to. Ronda, 1867. 

Munoz y Gaviria Historia del Alzamiento de los Moriscos. 
12mo. Madrid, 1861. 

Nebrixa Chronica de los Reyes Catholicos. Folio. Vallado- 
lid, 1565. 

xxxii Authorities Consulted 

Nunez de Castro Coronica de los Reyes de Castilla. Folio. 

Madrid, 1665. 
Olivarria y Huarte Tradiciones de Toledo. 12mo. Mad- 
rid, 1880. 
Oliver-Hurtado Granada y sus Monumentos Arabes. 8vo. 

Malaga, 1875. 
Orbaneja Almeria Ilustrada. Folio. Almeria, 1699- 
Pedraza Historia Eclesiastica de Granada. Folio. Granada, 

Pi y Margall Granada. 4to. Madrid, 1850. 
Rada y Delgado Museo Espanol de Antigiiedades. 9 vols. 

Folio. Madrid. 
Risco La Castilla. 4to. Madrid, 1792. 
Rivera Historia de Ronda. l6mo. Ronda, 1873. 
Robles Malaga Musulmana. 4to. Malaga, 1880. 
Rojas Historia de Toledo. 2 vols. Folio. Madrid, 1659- 
Saavedra Estudio sobre la Invasion de los Arabes en Espaiia. 

8vo. Madrid, 1892. 
Salazar de Mendoza Cronica de la Casa de los Ponces de 

Leon. 4to. 1620. 
Salazar de Mendoza Cronica del Gran Cardenal de Espaiia. 

Folio. Toledo, 1725. 
Sandoval Chronica de Don Alonso VII. Folio. Madrid, 

Sandoval Historia de los Reyes de Castilla y Leon. Folio. 

Pamplona, 1634. 
Simonet Leyendas Historicas Arabes. 8vo. Madrid, 1858. 
Tapia Historia de la Civilizacion Espaiiola. 4 vols. 12mo. 

Madrid, 1840. 
Torres Historia de las Ordenes Militares. 4to. Madrid, 

Valdes Monarchia Asturiana. 4to. Madrid. 
Velasco Los Euskaros. 8vo. Barcelona, 1879- 
Viegas Principios del Reyno de Portugal. 4to. Barcelona. 
Zuniga Anales de Sevilla. 5 vols. 4to. Madrid, 1796. 
Zurita Anales de Aragon. 7 vols. Folio. Zaragoza, 1610. 


Benavides Rainhas de Portugal. 2 vols. 8vo. Lisboa, 1878. 
Braga Historia da Poesia Popular Portuguesa. 12mo. Porto, 

Brito e Brandao Monarchia Lusitana. 8 vols. Folio. 
Lisboa, 1690. 

Authorities Consulted xxxiii 

Cancioneirinho de Trovas Antigas. 12mo. Vienna, 1857. 

Da Serra Coleccao de Livros Ineditos de Historia Portuguesa. 

5 vols. Folio. Lisboa, 1790. 
De Sousa Vestigios de la Lingua Arabica em Portugal. 8vo. 

Lisboa, 1789- 
Ennes Historia de Portugal. 2 vols. 8vo. Lisboa, 1876. 
Herculano Historia da Inquisicao em Portugal. 3 vols. 

12mo. 1874. 
Herculano Historia de Portugal. 2 vols. 8vo. Lisboa, 

Nunez do Liao Chronicas dos Reis de Portugal. 4 vols. 

Lisboa, 1774. 


Abbate Italia nel Medio Evo. 8vo. Alba, 1892. 

Airoldi Codice Diplomatico di Sicilia. 6 vols. 4to. Pa- 
lermo, 1789- 

Amari- -Biblioteca Arabo-Sicula. 3 vols. 8vo. Torino, 1880. 

Amari I Diplomi Arabi. Folio. Firenze, 1863. 

Amari Ricordi Arabici. 8vo. Genova, 1873. 

Amari Sol wan el Mota. 12mo. Firenze, 1851. 

Amari Storia dei Mussulmani di Sicilia. 3 vols. 8vo. 
Firenze, 1854. 

Amari Un Periode delle Istoriaa Siciliane. 8vo. Panormo, 

Bardi Storia della Letteratura Araba sotto il Califato. 2 vols. 
8vo. Firenze, 1846. 

Bennici L'Ultimo dei Trovatori in Sicilia. 12mo. Palermo, 

Bertalotti Gli Arabi in Italia. 8vo. Torino, 1838. 

Bruno Opere. 2 vols. 8vo. Lipsiae, 1830. 

Cavedoni Ricerche sui Trovatori. Folio. Modena, 1844. 

Corbetta Sardegna e Corsica. 8vo. Milano, 1877- 

Cusa I Diplomi Greci ed Arabi. Folio. Palermo, 1868. 

De Renzi Collectio Salernitana. 5 vols. 8vo. Napoli, 1852. 

Ferrario Storia degli Antichi Romanzi di Cavalleria. 4 vols. 
8vo. Milano, 1828. 

Galileo Opere. 16 vols. 8vo. Firenze, 1853. 

Giannone Istoria del Regno di Napoli. 8 vols. 8vo. 1882. 

Guicciardini Storia d' Italia. 6 vols. 8vo. Parigi, 1837. 

Manno Storia di Sardegna. 8vo. Firenze, 1858. 

Marigny Storia degli Arabi. 4 vols. 12mo. Venezia, 1753. 

xxxiv Authorities Consulted 

Martini Storia delle Invasioni degli Arabi in Sardegna. 8vo. 
Cagliari, 1861. 

Morso Descrizione di Palermo Antico. 8vo. Palermo, 1827- 

Muratori Annali d' Italia. 17 vols. 8vo. Milano, 1820. 

Navagiero II Viaggio Fatto in Spagna et in Francia. 12mo. 
Venegia, 1563. 

Nazari Delia Transmutatione Metallica. 4to. Brescia, 1599- 

Pitre Usi e Costumi del Popolo Siciliano. 4 vols. 8vo. Pa- 
lermo, 1889. 

Teti II Regime Feudale. 8vo. Napoli, 1890. 

Tiraboschi Storia della Letteratura Italiana. 27 vols. 8vo. 
Venezia, 1824. 

Vetri Dei Primordi della Invasione Araba. 8vo. 1882. 


Ahlwardt Die Alte Arabische Gedichte. 8vo. Greifswald, 

Ahlwardt Poesie der Araber. 4to. Gotha, 1856. 

Appel Provenzalische Inedita. 8vo. Leipzig, 1890. 

Aschbach Geschichte der Ommaijden in Spanien. 2 vols. 8vo. 
Wien, 1860. 

Aschbach Geschichte der Westgothen. 8vo. Franc, am Main, 

Aschbach Geschichte Spaniens und Portugals. 2 vols. 8vo. 
Franc, am Main, 1833. 

Assmann Geschichte des Mittelalters. 4 vols. 8vo. Braun- 
schweig, 1857. 

Bartsch Grundniss zur Geschichte der Provenzalische Littera- 
tur. 8vo. Elberfeld, 1872. 

Baudissin Studien zur Semitischen Religionsgeschichte. 8vo. 
Leipzig, 1876. 

Bebel Die Mohammedanische-Arabische Kultur Periode. 8vo. 
Stuttgart, 1889. 

Becker Chemische Anekdoten. 8vo. Leipzig, 1788. 

Bergel Die Medizin der Talmudisten. 8vo. Leipzig, 1885. 

Birch-Hirschfeld Ueber die den Provenzalischen Trouba- 
dours Epischen Stoffe. 8vo. Leipzig, 1878. 

Blau Arabien im VI. Jahrhundert. 8vo. 

Botticher Geschichte der Carthager. 8vo. Berlin, 1827. 

Brinckmaier Die Provenzalischen Troubadours. 8vo. Got- 
tingen, 1882. 

Chwolsohn Die Ssabier und der Ssabismus. 2 vols. 8vo. St. 
Petersburg, 1856. 

Authorities Consulted xxxv 

Diercks Die Araber im Mittelalter. 8vo. Leipzig, 1882. 
Dieterici Die Philosophie der Araber im X. Jahrhundert. 8 

vols. 8vo. Leipzig, 1876. 
Diez Die Poesie der Troubadours. 8vo. Zwickau, 1826. 
Diez Leben und Werke der Troubadours. 8vo. Leipzig, 1882. 
Dollinger Von der Papstfabeln des Mittelalters. 8vo. Stutt- 
gart, 1890. 
Dukes Moses ben Ezra aus Granada. 8vo. Altona, 1839- 
Ebert Allgemeine Geschichte der Litteratur des Mittelalters. 

3 vols. 8vo. Leipzig, 1887. 
Ewald Geschichte des Volkes Israel. 7 vols. 8vo. Gottingen, 

Fischbach Geschichte der Textelkunst. 8vo. Hanau, 1883. 
Flugel Die Schulen von Bosra und Kufa. 8vo. Leipzig, 

Flugel Geschichte der Araber. 8vo. Leipzig, 1867- 
Freytag Darstellung der Arabischen Verskunst. 8vo. Bonn, 

Funk Kaiser Friedrich II. 8vo. Wien, 1817- 
Geiger Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthum aufgenom- 

men. 8vo. Bonn, 1883. 
Goldhann Wanderungen in Sicilien. 8vo. Leipzig, 1855. 
Goldzieher Der Mythos bei den Hebraern. 8vo. Leipzig, 

Goldzieher Die Zahiriten. 8vo. Halle, 1884. 
Goldzieher Mohammedanische Studien. 2 vols. 8vo. Halle, 

Gosche Die Alhambra. l6mo. Berlin, 1854. 
Grau Semiten und Indogermanen. 8vo. Stuttgart, 1867- 
Gudemann Das Judische Unterrechtswesen wahrend der Span- 

ische-Arabische Periode. 8vo. Wien, 1873. 
Hammer-Purgstall Gemaldesaal der grossen Mohammedan 

ische Herrscher. 6 vols. 8vo. Leipzig, 1873. 
Hammer-Purgstall Literaturgeschichte der Araber. 7 vols. 

4to. Wien, 1855. 
Hankel Geschichte der Mathematik. 8vo. Leipzig, 1874. 
Hausleutner Geschichte der Araber in Sicilien. 4 vols. 8vo. 

Konigsberg, 1791- 
Hirschfeld Beitrage zur Erklarung des Koran. 8vo. Leip- 
zig, 1886. 
Hofler Kaiser Friedrich II. 8vo. Munich, 1844. 
Ibn-Ishak Das Leben Mohammeds. 8vo. Stuttgart, 1864. 
Jacobs Welche Handsartikel bezogen die Araber en Mittelalter 

aus den Nordische-Baltischen Landern. Svo. Berlin, 1891. 

xxxvi Authorities Consulted 

Jost Geschichte des Judenthums. 8vo. Leipzig, 1857. 

Kaempf Poesie Andalusischen Dichter. 8vo. Prag, 1858. 

Kapp Die Alchemic 2 vols. 8vo. Heidelburg, 1886. 

Kayserling Die Judischen Frauen. 8vo. Leipzig, 1879- 

Kayserling Sephardim. 8vo. Leipzig, 1859. 

Kestner Der Kreuzzug Friedrichs II. 8vo. Gottingen, 1873. 

Kiese wetter Die Musik der Araber. 4to. Leipzig, 1842. 

Kopke Die Anfange des Konigthums bei den Gothen. 8vo. 
Berlin, 1859- 

Krause Die Byzantiner des Mittelalters. 8vo. Halle, 1869- 

Krehl Das Leben des Muhammed. 12mo. Leipzig, 1884. 

Krehl Die Religion der Vorislamischen Araber. 8vo. Leip- 
zig, 1863. 

Kremer Culturgeschichte des Orients. 2 vols. 8vo. Wien, 

Kugler Geschichte der Baukunst. 8vo. Stuttgart, 1859- 

Lembke Geschichte von Spanien. 4 vols. 8vo. Hamburg, 

Mahn Gedichte der Troubadours. 3 vols. 12mo. Berlin, 

Movers Das Phonizische Alterthum. 2 vols. 8vo. Berlin, 

Muller Die Letzten Zeiten von Granada. 8vo. Miinchen, 

Muller Philosophic und Theologie von Averroes. 4to. 
Miinchen, 1875. 

Munz Ueber die Judische Aerzte im Mittelalter. 8vo. Berlin, 

Nesselmann Versuch einer Geschichte des Algebra. 8vo. Ber- 
lin, 1842. 

Noldecke Beitrage zur Kenntniss der Poesie der Alten Araber. 
8vo. Hannover, 1864. 

Noldecke Das Leben Muhammads. 8vo. Hannover, 1863. 

Nordau Vom Kreml bis zur Alhambra. 2 vols. 8vo. Leipzig, 


Oldenberg Buddha. 8vo. Berlin, 1881. 

Parthey Das Alexandrinische Museum. 8vo. ' Berlin, 1838. 

Parthey Wanderungen durch Sicilien. 2 vols. 12mo. Ber- 
lin, 1834. 

Pischon Der Einfluss des Islams. 8vo. Leipzig, 1881. 

Prutz Aus Phonizien. 8vo. Leipzig, 1870. 

Raumer Geschichte der Hohenstaufen. 4 vols. 8vo. Leipzig, 

Reber Geschichte der Baukunst. 8vo. Leipzig, 1866. 

Authorities Consulted xxxvii 

Ritter Die Arabische Philosophic 4to. Gottingen, 1844. 
Rohricht Geschichte der Kreuzzuge. 2 vols. 8vo. Berlin, 

Schaack Geschichte der Normannen in Sicilien. 8vo. Stutt- 
gart, 1889. 
S chafer Geschichte von Portugal. 5 vols. 8vo. Hamburg, 

Schirrmacher Kaiser Friedrich II. 4 vols. 8vo. Gottingen, 

Schmidt Geschichte Aragoniens. 8vo. Leipzig, 1828. 
Schmieder Geschichte der Alchemic 8vo. Halle, 1832. 
Schultz Das Hoflische Leben zur Zeit der Minnesinger. 2 

vols. 4to. Leipzig, 1889. 
Schultz Italienische Trobadors. 8vo. Berlin, 1883. 
Spangenberg Die Minnehofe des Mittelalters. 8vo. Leipzig, 

Spitta Zur Geschichte Abul Hasan Ali Asaris. 8vo. Leipzig, 

Sprengel Geschichte der Arzneikunde. 6 vols. 8vo. Halle, 

Sprenger Das Leben und die Lehre des Muhammed. 3 vols. 

8vo. Berlin, 1861. 
Sprenger Die Alte Geographie Arabiens. 8vo. Bern, 1875. 
Stimming Bertran de Born. 8vo. Halle, 1879- 
Stimming Der Troubadour Jaufre Rudel. 8vo. Kiel, 1873. 
Stuvve Die Handelsziige der Araber. 8vo. Berlin, 1836. 
Suchier Denkmaler der Provenzalische Litteratur. 8vo. 

Halle, 1883. 
Unger Geschichte der Pflanzenwelt. 8vo. Wien, 1852. 
Von Kremer Gebiete des Islams. 8vo. Leipzig, 1873. 
Von Kremer Geschichte der Herrschenden Ideen des Islams. 

8vo. Leipzig, 1868. 
Von Ledebur Zeugnisse eines Handels-Verkehrs mit dem 

Orient. 8vo. Berlin, 1840. 
Wahl Statistik der Araber in Sicilien. 8vo. 
Weil Die Poetische Literatur der Araber vor Mohammed. 

12mo. Stuttgart, 1837. 
Weil Einleitung in den Koran. 12mo. Bielefeld, 1844. 
Weil Geschichte der Chalifen. 3 vols. 8vo. Mannheim, 1846. 
Weil Geschichte der Islamischen Volker. 8vo. Stuttgart, 

Weniger Das Alexandrinische Museum. 8vo. Berlin, 1875. 
Wilken Geschichte der Kreuzzuge. 8 vols. 8vo. Leipzig, 


xxxviii Authorities Consulted 

Winkelmann Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums. 8vo. 

Heidelberg, 1882. 
Winkelmann Kaiser Friedrich II. 2 vols. 8vo. Leipzig, 

Winkler Geschichte der Botanik. 8vo. Frankfort, 1854. 
Woepcke Ueber Ein Arabisches Astrolabium. 4to. Berlin, 

Wustenfeld Die Academien der Araber. 8vo. Gottingen, 

Wustenfeld Geschichte der Arabischen Aerzte und Naturfor- 

scher. 8vo. Gottingen, 1840. 
Zerschwitz Das Kaisertraum des Mittelalters. 8vo. Leipzig, 

Zimmermann Geschichte der Hohenstaufen. 8vo. Stuttgart, 



Dozy De Israelieten te Mekka. 8vo. Haarlem, 1864. 

Houtsma De Strijd over het Dogma in den Islam. 8vo. Lei- 
den, 1875. 

Keijzer De Leerstellingen van de Mohammedaansche Godsdi- 
enst. 8vo. Gerinchem, 1854. 

Keijzer Handboek vor Het Mohammedaansche Regt. 8vo. 
Gravenhage, 1853. 

Kern Het Buddhisme in Indie. 2 vols. 8vo. Haarlem, 1882. 

Kist De Pausin Johanna. 8vo. Gravenhage, 1845. 

Koenen Varia. 8vo. 

Kuenen De Baalsdienst onder Israel. 8vo. 

Kuenen De Godsdienst van Israel. 2 vols. 8vo. Haarlem, 

Nomsz Mohammed. 12mo. Amsteldami, 1758. 

Snouk-Hurgronje Het Mekkaansche Feest. 8vo. Leiden, 

Tiele De Godsdienst van Zarathustra. 8vo. Haarlem, 1864. 

Weil Legenden der Muselmannen. 8vo. Schiedam, 1853. 

Weil Mohammed de Propheet. 2 vols. 8vo. Amsterdam, 

Wunderlich Geschiedenis der Geneeskunde. 8vo. Tiel, 1861. 


Fabricius Forbindelserne mellem Norden og den Spanske 

Halvo, i aeldre Tider. 8vo. Kjobenhavn, 1882. 
Molbech Europa i Middelalderen. 8vo. Kjobenhavn, 1819. 

Authorities Consulted xxxix 

Rydberg Middelalderens Magi. 12mo. Kjobenhavn, 1873. 
Sorensen Araberne og deres Kultur i Middelalderen. 12mo. 
Kjobenhavn, 1888. 


Afzelius Svenska Folket's Sago-Hafder. 11 vols. 8vo. 

Stockholm, 1844. 
Bottiger Om den Italienska Kulturens. 8vo. Upsala, 1846. 
Brandel Om och ur den arabiska geographen, Idrisi. 8vo. 

Upsala, 1894. 
Engestrom Om judarne i Rom under aldere tider. 8vo. 

Stockholm, 1876. 
Hellwald Turkiet i vara dagar. 2 vols. 8vo. Stockholm, 

Hildebrand Om det Vatikanska arkivet. 8vo. Stockholm. 
Jonquiere Osmanika rikets historia. 8vo. Stockholm, 1882. 
Lindberg Mohammed och Qoranen. 8vo. Goteborg, 1897. 
Reinach Israeliternas historia. 8vo. Stockholm, 1891. 
Sjogren Sveriges kulturhistoria. 4to. Stockholm, 1891. 


Bartsch Chrestomatie Provencale. 8vo. Elberfeld, 1868. 
Born, Bertrand de Poesies Completes. 8vo. Paris. 
Fauriel Histoire de la Croisade contre les Heretiques Albi- 

geois. 4to. Paris, 1837. 
Montaiglon et Raynaud Recueil General des Fabliaux. 6 

vols. 8vo. Paris, 1878. 
Raynouard Choix des Poesies des Troubadours. 6 vols. 8vo. 

Paris, 1816. 
Rutebo2uf QZuvres Completes. 8vo. Paris, 1839- 


Carbonell Chronica de Espanya. Folio. Barcelona, 1546. 

Don Jaime de Aragon Libre dels feyts esdevenguts en la vida 
del molt alt senyor En Jacme lo Conquerador. Folio. 1557. 

March Les Obres. 4to. Barcelona, 1602. 

Muntaner Chronica. Folio. Barcelona, 1562. 

Pujades Coronica universal del Principat de Cathalunya. 
Folio. Barcelona, 1609. 

Roig Libre de Cosells. 12mo. Barcelona, 1561. 

Tornich Historias e Conquestas dels Excellentissims e Catho- 
lics Reys de Arago. Folio. Barcelona, 1534. 

xl Authorities Consulted 


Abd-al-Allatif Historia iEgypti. 4to. Oxoniae, 1800. 

Abul-Feda Historia Anteislamica. 4to. Lipsiae, 1831. 

Abul-Pharagius Historia Dynastiarum. 4to. Oxoniae, 1763. 

Anspach Historia Calif atus Al-Walidi. 8vo. Leyden, 1853. 

Avicenna Opera. Folio. Venitiis, 1595. 

Bacon Opera Inedita. 8vo. London, 1859- 

Capasso Historia Diplomatica Regni Siciliae. 4to. Napoli, 

Carena Tractatus de Officio Inquisitionis. Folio. Cremona, 

Casiri Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana Escurialensis. 2 vols. 

Folio. Matriti, 1760. 

Fuero Juzgo. Folio. Madrid, 1815. 

Gerbert CEuvres. 4to. Paris, 1867. 

Gildermeister Scriptorum Arabum de Rebus Indicis. 8vo. 

Bonnae, 1838. 
Hadji-Khalfa Lexicon Bibliographicum. 7 vols. 4to. 

Leipzig, 1835. 
Hille De Medicis Arabibus Oculariis. 8vo. Lipsiae. 
Huillard-Breholles Chronicon Placentinum. 4to. Parisiis, 

Longino Trinium Magicum. 18mo. Francofurti, 1614. 
Middledorff Commentatio de Institutis Litterariis in Hispama 

quae Arabes auctores habuerunt. 4to. Gottingen. 
Muratori Antiquitates Italiae Medii iEvi. 6 vols. Folio. 

Mediolani, 1740. 
Paulus Diaconus Historia Longobardorum. 8vo. Hanno- 

verae, 1878. 
Pococke Specimen Historiae Arabum. 4to. Oxoniae, 1806. 
Rasmussen Additamenta. 4to. 

Reiske Opuscula Medica ex Monimentis Arabum. 8vo. 1776. 
Reiske Sail ol Arem. 4to. Lipsiae. 
Renauldon Historia Praecipuorum Arabum Regnorum. 4to. 

Hauniae, 1817. 
Rhazes De Variolis et Morbillis. 8vo. Londini, 1766. 
Rutgers Historia Jemanae. 4to. Lugd. Batavorum, 1838. 
Sprengel Historia Rei Herbariae. 2 vols. 8vo. Amsteldami, 


Tractatus Talmudici Erubhin. 4to. Lipsiae, l66l. 

Wenrich Rerum ab Arabibis in Italia Insulisque Gestarum 

Commentarii. 8vo. Lipsiae, 1845. 

Authorities Consulted xli 


Appianus Historia Romana. 2 vols. 8vo. Lipsise, 1881. 
Herodotus Historiarum Libri IX. 8vo. Lipsiae, 1890. 
Procopius Anekdota. 8vo. Paris, 1856. 
Strabo Geographica. 3 vols. 8vo. Lipsiae, 1877. 


Akmin-Joseph-Ben Tah-ul-Nufus (Extracts). 8vo. 1873. 
Alfasi Halakhoth-Rab-Alfas. (Exposition of the Talmud.) 

4to. Oxford, 1875. 
Maimonides Selections from the Yad Hachazakah. 8vo. 

Cambridge, 1832. 
Surenhusins Mishna. 6 vols. Folio. Amstelaedami, 1698. 
Talmud Babli. 13 vols. 4to. Amsterdam, 1654. 


Abd-al-Wahid History of the Almohades. 8vo. Leyden, 1881. 
Abd-el-Rezzaq Revelation des Enigmes. 8vo. Paris, 1874. 
Aboulfeda Annales Muslemici. 5 vols. 4to. Leipzig, 1794. 
Aboulfeda Description des Pays de Magreb. 4to. Alger, 

Abulfeda Joctanidorum Historia. 4to. Hard. Gel. 1786. 

Ajbar Machmua. 8vo. Madrid, 1867. 

Al-Bokhari Canonical Traditions. Folio. Bombay, 1856. 
Al-Ispahani The Songs of the Arabs. 10 vols. 4to. Cairo. 
Al-Makkari Analectes sur l'Histoire et la Litterature des 

Arabes en Espagne. 2 vols. 4to. Leyden, 1855. 
Amrolkais Le Divan. 4to. Paris, 1837. 
Antarah Romance. 6 vols. 8vo. Beirut, 1883. 
De Sousa Documentos Arabicos para a Historia Portuguesa. 

4to. Lisboa, 1790. 
Dozy Scriptorum Rerum Arabum de Abbadidis. 4to. Lugd. 

Batavorum, 1846. 
Edrisi Description de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne. 8vo. Leyde, 

Elmacin Historia Saracenica. 4to. Lugd. Batavorum. 
Faris-al-Shidiac Voyages. 8vo. Paris, 1855. 
Faruki Legal Decisions. 2 vols. Folio. Bulak. 
Grangeret de Lagrange Anthologie Arabe. 8vo. Paris, 


xlii Authorities Consulted 

Hamzae Ispahanensis Annalium Liber X. 8vo. Petropoli, 

Ibn-Adhari Histoire de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne. 2 vols. 

8vo. Leyde, 1848. 
Ibn-al-Walid The Lamp of Kings. 4to. Cairo. 
Ibn-Badroun Commentaire Historique. 8vo. Leyde, 1846. 
Ibn-Batoutah Voyages. 8vo. Cairo. 
Ibn-Hajar Biographical Dictionary. 4 vols. 8vo. Calcutta, 

Ibn-Junis CEuvres. 4to. Paris. 
Ibn-Khaldun Introduction to History. 8vo. Beirut, 1886. 

Lois des Maures en Espagne. Folio. MS. XII. Century. 

Macoudi Les Prairies d'Or. 9 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1861. 
Mohammed Al Koran. 8vo. Leipzig, 1881. 
Muhammed-Alfergani Elementa Astronomica. 4to. 
Sharastani Book of the Religious and Philosophical Sects. 2 

vols. 8vo. 1842. 
Wright Opuscula Arabica. 8vo. Leyden, 1859- 
Wustenfeld Das Leben Muhammeds. 3 vols. 8vo. Got- 

tingen, 1859- 
Wustenfeld Die Chroniken der Stadt Mecca. 4 vols. 8vo. 

Leipzig, 1858. 





B.C. 2500 A.D. 614 

Topography of Arabia Its History Influence of Other Na- 
tions Ancient Civilization Commerce Persistence of 
Customs and Language Character of the Bedouin His 
Independence His Predatory Instincts Power of Tribal 
Connection War the Normal Condition of Existence in the 
Desert The Virtues and Vices of the Aral) Blood-Re- 
venge and its Destructive Consequences Absence of Caste 
Condition of Woman Marriage Religion Astral 
Worship Idolatry Phallicism Human Sacrifices Im- 
portance and Power of the Jews Christianity in Arabia 
Poetry, its Subjects and Character The Moallakat Popu- 
larity of the Arab Poet His License Influence of Arabic 
Civilization and Culture on Subsequent Ages. 

Few countries of the globe present to the eye of 
the traveller so desolate, so forbidding an aspect as 
that vast and arid peninsula which, embracing an area 
of more than a million square miles, stretches away 
through twenty-four degrees of latitude, from the 
confines of the Syrian Desert to the shores of the 
Indian Ocean. Its surface, while far from possessing 
the monotonous character with which popular fancy is 
accustomed to invest it, is, for the greater part of its 
extent, destitute of those physical advantages which 
tempt either the cupidity or the enterprise of man. 

Vol. I. 1 

2 History of the 

Its coasts are low and unhealthy. Its harbors are few 
and unsafe. Its mineral resources are to this day un- 
explored and unknown. Its impenetrable deserts, 
guarded by a fierce and martial population, have 
always set at defiance the best-matured plans of in- 
vasion and conquest. In the principality of Yemen, 
appropriately named The Happy, the cultivation of 
the soil has flourished from time immemorial, but in 
almost every other province the returns of agricultural 
labor are discouraging and unremunerative. Illimit- 
able wastes of sand, over which sweeps the deadly 
blast of the simoom; mountains, bald, craggy, and 
volcanic, whose slopes are destitute of every trace of 
vegetable life ; plains strewn with blocks of tufa and 
basalt; valleys dotted here and there with stunted 
shrubs, or encrusted with a saline deposit similar to 
that upon the shores of the Dead Sea; a soil impreg- 
nated with nitre; such are, and have been from pre- 
historic times, the physical features of the Arabian 
Peninsula. No stream worthy of the name of river, 
dispensing wealth and fertility in its winding course 
to the sea, flows through this dreary and inhospitable 
land. Wherever a spring was found, a permanent 
settlement arose,- and the black tents of the Bedouin 
gave place to huts of sun-dried bricks, while the dig- 
nity of the sheik, who now aspired to the title of 
prince, was satisfied with a dwelling superior to those 
of his subjects only in point of size. The oasis, 
generally suggestive of shady groves and purling 
streams, is often, in reality, nothing more than the 
dry bed of a mountain torrent, along whose borders 
a little withered vegetation furnishes the hardy camel 
with pasture, and where a scanty supply of brackish 
water can, by laborious digging, be obtained. Over- 
head glitters a sky of brass, unnecked by a single 
cloud, and, morning and evening, the rays of the 
sun, mellowed and refracted by the vapors of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 3 

earth, clothe every elevation with scarlet, azure, and 
violet tints which, blended in exquisite harmony, rival 
the splendors of the rainbow; developing, under the 
effects of radiation, optical illusions and charming 
pictures of the mirage, attributed by superstitious 
ignorance to the influence of enchantment. The un- 
broken stillness of the Desert, the wide expanse of 
uninhabited territory, produce a sense of mental de- 
pression, accompanied by an apprehension of danger 
from the convulsions of nature and the violence of 
man, which no experience seems able to remove; 
affecting even the sturdy camel-driver, familiar with 
these solitudes from childhood, who shudders as he 
urges his string of panting beasts over the drifted 
sand-heaps and through the mountain fastness, the 
reputed haunt of evil genii and the vantage ground 
from whence the murderous banditti oft beset the 
caravan. So deeply-rooted and tenacious is this feel- 
ing that the Arab regards a journey successfully per- 
formed as just cause for congratulation, and indeed 
not inferior to a triumph, as is indicated by his 
familiar proverb, " Travel is a victory." 

The modern geographical division of Arabia into 
The Stony, The Desert, The Happy is arbitrary, and 
unknown to the people the boundaries of whose coun- 
try it purports to establish. The distinctions between 
the various tribes of the Peninsula have always been 
determined by mode of life, habits, and tradition 
rather than by the accident of locality; have been, 
in fact, rather personal than territorial. This pecu- 
liarity is the result of an extraordinary persistence of 
a national type which neither a new physical environ- 
ment, nor the change of political and economic con- 
ditions, nor the lapse of centuries has been able to 
modify sensibly, still less to eradicate completely. 
Hence has arisen the division of the Arabian people 
into two classes, nomadic and sedentary, the only one 

4 History of the 

universally recognized by them, and whose line of 
demarcation has always been sharply defined. 

The primordial story of Arabia is lost in the un- 
fathomable darkness of antiquity. The annals of no 
people are involved in more uncertainty or present 
greater difficulties in their investigation than those of 
the Bedouins, as the popular accounts which we pos- 
sess of their early history bear unquestionable indica- 
tions of recent date and fictitious origin. Ignorant 
of the art of writing for centuries before the time of 
Mohammed, their traditions were orally transmitted, 
and, in addition to being necessarily subject to all the 
defects of this mode of communication, were colored 
by that love of exaggeration and falsehood which 
seems to be an integral part of the Oriental char- 
acter. The meagre hints which can be gleaned from 
these unsatisfactory materials are all that we can rely 
upon in the almost hopeless attempt to construct a 
chronological and historical outline of pre-Islamic 
events. The statements of Moslem writers concern- 
ing these events must be subjected to rigid criticism. 
They suppressed many facts, and condemned indis- 
criminately the practices of their heathen ancestors; 
although they knew that the Prophet drew his inspira- 
tion largely from this source, and that Islamism could 
never have been established without the acceptance of 
many of these idolatrous ceremonies in all their in- 
tegrity. As far as can at present be determined by 
the aid of the imperfect and suspicious data at our 
command, and by a comparison of the physical and 
mental characteristics of surrounding nations, Arabia 
has long been a base of extensive emigration, chiefly 
into Central Asia; while her southern and eastern 
provinces have, from the days when some famished 
Bedouin first discovered the marvellous fertility en- 
joyed by the Valley of the Nile, been the prolific 

Moorish Empire in Europe 5 

source from whence Egypt recruited her diminishing 

On the other hand, the influence of neighboring 
countries upon Arabia has been attended, in its turn, 
with consequences of the greatest importance. It was 
peculiarly fortunate that her geographical situation 
rendered her maritime cities and in a still greater de- 
gree her interior settlements entrepots for the dis- 
tribution of the luxuries of the East and West. Of 
the latter, in ancient times, and indeed until super- 
seded by the doubtful advantages of Mecca, Petra 
was the most remarkable. The latter was a veritable 
troglodytic city. Its dwellings, excavated in the solid 
rock, disclose by their vast extent that at one time 
they must have sheltered a population of at least a 
hundred and sixty thousand souls. Nor was Petra the 
only town of this kind in Northern Arabia. Many 
others almost rivalled it in size and opulence, in the 
splendid architecture of their temples, in the vast 
ramifications of their commercial interests, in the syba- 
ritic luxury of their inhabitants. Under such condi- 
tions a high degree of civilization must necessarily 
have been reached, which, however, had disappeared 
with the decline of Phoenician influence at a period 
long before the dawn of the Christian era. From 
an epoch not improbably coeval with the establishment 
of the first Egyptian dynasty there had been an almost 
incessant passing and repassing of strangers, attracted 
by the profits of the Ethiopian and Indian trade, upon 
the highways, which in every direction traversed the 
Peninsula. This continual intercourse with foreign- 
ers, the curious information of distant lands which the 
latter imparted, the mysterious dogmas of unknown 
faiths which they professed, their extensive learning 
and polished manners, insensibly enlarged the sphere 
of observation and activity, developed the mental fac- 
ulties, and softened the rudeness of the wild tribes of 

6 History of the 

the Desert. Many of these traders were Phoenicians 
and Jews whom a common origin, indicated, among 
other traits, by a striking similarity of language, 
brought at once into familiar and intimate contact 
with the Arabs. The commercial intercourse of 
Arabia with Egypt is known from inscriptions to 
have existed for thirty-five hundred years before 
Christ, and that with Phoenicia may, not improbably, 
have been of equal antiquity. 

No greater contrast can be imagined than that pre- 
sented by the respective lives of the Arabs and their 
neighbors and kindred, the denizens of the Valley of 
the Nile. The actions of the former, like those of all 
pastoral nations, were irregular, uncertain, capricious. 
The existence of the latter was controlled by the un- 
varying phenomena of the Great River, whose influ- 
ence was perceptible in every phase of political, reli- 
gious, and social life; whose inundations were sym- 
bolical of prosperity, and whose rise was announced 
by the celestial messenger Sirius, the most magnificent 
star in the heavens. The subjects of the Pharaohs 
were dependent upon Arabia for the gums and aro- 
matics so extensively used in embalming; and these 
precious substances, which must have been produced 
far more abundantly then than now, were also ex- 
ported to Phoenicia and Palestine, whence consider- 
able quantities annually found their way into Europe 
to be consumed in sacrificial ceremonies, in the service 
of medicine, and in the ostentatious pomp of patrician 

The maritime and agricultural advantages possessed 
by the southern coast of the Peninsula designated by 
the Romans as Arabia the Happy, and afterwards, by 
the natives, as Yemen, " The Country on the Right 
Hand" (because the speaker was supposed to stand 
at Mecca) had enabled that region to attain to a 
degree of prosperity and civilization unknown to the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 7 

pastoral settlements of the interior. Nothing can 
now be ascertained concerning the early history of 
Yemen, the royal genealogies of whose sovereigns 
nevertheless include a period of twenty-two hundred 
years. Nor can speculation, with any degree of 
probability, assign even an approximate date to the 
beginning of its commercial relations with the East. 
Not only did the bold and adventurous spirit of the 
Arabian sailors lead them to the extreme Orient, but 
their coasting vessels regularly visited the shores of 
the Persian Gulf and the bays and inlets of the 
African coast; undertakings far more hazardous, if 
not more lucrative, than voyages to distant Hindustan. 
From the latter country the native and foreign mer- 
chants introduced, with articles of traffic, many idola- 
trous practices and dogmas of a corrupt philosophy, 
destined subsequently to manifest the powerful hold 
they had obtained upon the popular mind by their 
incorporation into the creed of Islam. 

All classic writers who have written upon the sub- 
ject agree in attributing great wealth to Southern 
Arabia, a land familiar to antiquity as Saba, or Sheba. 
Herodotus, Strabo, and Pliny frequently allude to it 
as the richest country on the globe. Its agricultural 
resources, dependent upon a vast and intricate hy- 
draulic system which embraced hundreds of leagues 
of productive territory, were the principal basis of 
its prosperity. Its streams were confined by massive 
walls of masonry of cyclopean dimensions and by 
great embankments. One of these reservoirs was 
eighteen miles in circuit and a hundred and twenty 
feet deep. Its stones were laid in bitumen and bolted 
together with iron rods. Many others, inferior in 
dimensions and of not less solid construction, collected 
and retained the melted snows of the mountains. The 
flow of water was regulated by sluices, and its appor- 
tionment rigidly prescribed by law. This thorough 

8 History of the 

system of irrigation, applied to a soil of prodigious 
fertility under a tropical sun, eventually produced re- 
sults rivalling those of the vaunted plantations of 
Babylonia. An innumerable population, distributed 
throughout this favored territory in hundreds of 
cities and villages, carried to its highest perfection 
the cultivation of the soil. The daily expenses of 
the royal household were fifteen Babylonian talents, 
eighty-five thousand five hundred dollars of our 
money. It is related that Mareb, the capital, stood 
in a vast expanse of perennial verdure, where the 
branches of the trees, touching each other, formed a 
vault of continuous shade over the highways, of such 
extent that a horseman would require a journey of two 
months' duration to traverse the cultivated portion of 
the realm of the monarchs of Saba. One of the latter 
was the famous Queen Balkis, the friend and admirer 
of Solomon. 

In a region so fortunately situated for commerce, 
mercantile activity kept pace with agricultural de- 
velopment. The merchants of Saba enjoyed a repu- 
tation for shrewdness, ability, wealth, and enterprise 
not inferior to that of the Phoenicians themselves. 
They engaged in transactions involving immense 
pecuniary investments. They despatched great fleets 
to China. Their caravans traversed the Syrian and 
African deserts. They exported to Persia annually 
a thousand talents weight of frankincense. Not only 
did they purchase directly the commodities in which 
they dealt, but they also bought and sold extensively 
on commission. Their warehouses were filled with 
the rich products of a score of climes; silver vessels; 
ingots of copper, tin, iron, and lead ; honey and wax ; 
silks, ivory, ebony, coral, agates; civet, musk, myrrh, 
camphor, and other aromatics, some of which were 
worth many times their weight in gold. Such was 
their prodigal luxury that only sandal-wood and cin- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 9 

namon were used as fuel in the preparation of their 
food. The vegetable kingdom contributed no insig- 
nificant share to the commercial wealth of Southern 
Arabia. Coffee, indigenous to the Peninsula, was 
exported as a luxury to the provinces of Asia. In 
that dry climate, where flourished every known va- 
riety of cereals, grain could be stored without injury 
for thirty years. The cotton-plant, the sugar-cane, 
the cocoa-palm, yielded enormous revenues to those 
who engaged in their culture. The balsam of Mecca, 
the gum Arabic, the sap of the Acacia Vera, and 
the famed frankincense were also important articles 
of export. The country was reputed to be rich in 
minerals; inexhaustible deposits of salt existed in 
Saba; gold was found in the mountains; but Arabia 
produced no iron, which Strabo says in his time was 
equal in value to the precious metals. The pearl 
fisheries of the coast, opposite to the Isles of Bahrein, 
were unrivalled for the beauty and value of their 

For an unknown period, embracing, however, many 
centuries, the prosperity of the kingdom of Saba con- 
tinued. Then it suddenly declined ; a general emigra- 
tion took place, and the former paradise was trans- 
formed into an uninhabited desert. The cause of this 
great and profound change, involving the desolation 
of a vast region and the dispersion of an entire people, 
is hidden in obscurity. The puerile fables which at- 
tribute it to a threatened inundation from the rupture 
of a dike are unworthy of notice. It is probable that 
this calamity was mainly due to the diversion of the 
caravan traffic to the channels of the Red Sea, to the 
abandonment of stations, to the cessation of revenue, 
and to the consequent dearth of the means of subsist- 
ence. Foreign wars or domestic convulsions, which, 
aided by increasing luxury and subsequent weakness, 
also contributed to drain the resources and exhaust the 

10 History of the 

population of the kingdom, may have hastened the 
ultimate catastrophe that is supposed to have occurred 
during the first century of the Christian era. 

From this epoch the traditions of the Arabs become 
more and more confused. Some tribes seem to have 
emigrated to Mesopotamia, others to have settled in 
the vicinity of Medina, then called Yathreb, where 
they intermarried with the Jews already established 
in that city. We know nothing further of Arabian 
annals till the promulgation of the faith of Islam 
began a new chapter in the history of nations. Before 
the Hegira no date could be fixed with certainty, as 
there was no chronological system by which to ascer- 
tain the year of an historical occurrence, and no pub- 
lic or private records existed to preserve it. But a step 
beyond the unreliable transmission of past events by 
tradition were the inscriptions occasionally made upon 
the shoulder-blades of animals. Not only was the ma- 
terial indispensable to the scribe entirely wanting, but 
the ability to use it was possessed by only an insig- 
nificant number of the people. Among the nomadic 
Bedouins contempt for literary accomplishments, ex- 
cept that of extemporaneous poetical composition, 
universally prevailed. Even in the great commercial 
city of Mecca, at the time of the publication of the 
Koran, there was but one man who could write. It 
was not without reason that Mohammed designated 
the long and obscure period preceding the Hegira, 
the Age of Ignorance. 

Arabia, alone among the countries accessible to the 
ambition of the powerful sovereigns of antiquity, 
escaped the humiliation of conquest. The genius of 
Alexander had planned its subjugation, but death 
prevented the realization of his vast, perhaps im- 
practicable, design. The legions of Augustus, trained 
under the discipline of the greatest of the Ceesars, 
proved unequal to the task of triumphing over a 

Moorish Empire in Europe 11 

region where the soil, the elements, and the valor 
of its defenders formed a combination invincible by 
human prowess. The Persians, for a period of 
insignificant duration, occupied the western and 
southern coasts, having previously expelled the 
Abyssinians, who had invaded and retained a portion 
of Yemen during the sixth century. No nation, 
however, was ever able to claim supremacy over any 
considerable portion of the Arabian Peninsula. For 
this immunity it was indebted not only to the natural 
obstacles which defied the advance and the mainten- 
ance of an invading army, but also to the superstitious 
fears with which cunning and credulity had sur- 
rounded its name. It was a land of mysterious por- 
tents and prodigies, whose borders were guarded by 
malignant demons; whose deserts, all but impene- 
trable to the boldest adventurer, were inhabited by 
cannibal giants and monstrous birds of prey that 
watched over treasures placed by evil spirits under 
the spell of enchantment. Every caravan that left 
Phoenicia for Central Arabia carried quantities of 
storax, which the Tyrian merchants declared was 
burnt in the neighborhood of the frankincense shrubs, 
that its offensive fumes might drive away the winged 
serpents which were their custodians. The climate 
was said to be so pestilential that slaves and criminals 
alone were employed to gather the precious gum, 
their liberty being conditional upon their success. 
These politic inventions, implicitly believed by the 
ignorant, while they insured to the shrewd traders 
of Phoenicia a monopoly of the valuable products 
of the Peninsula, exercised no inconsiderable influ- 
ence over the popular mind of the ancients, and 
clothed the Desert with terrors which even the repu- 
tation and allurements of its prodigious wealth were 
unable entirely to overcome. 

As a result of its exemption from foreign dominion, 

12 History of the 

no other country has preserved the integrity of its 
customs, its language, and the personality of its in- 
habitants to such a degree as Arabia. It alone still 
presents a picture of the government and the domestic 
economy of patriarchal antiquity. Its manners are 
those which prevailed centuries before the time of 
Abraham. The wonderfully sonorous and flexible 
idiom of the Koran was already formed before the 
Bible or the Iliad was written. The absolute im- 
mobility of the Arabian in his native haunts, con- 
trasted with his ready adaptation to diametrically 
opposite conditions elsewhere, is one of the most 
striking anomalies of human character. The influ- 
ence of Greece and Rome, whose taste in art and 
maxims of government have left their traces 
wherever either the valor or the enterprise of those 
nations has been able to obtain a foothold, is not 
perceptible in the political or domestic history of 
Arabia. No ruins of any majestic structure raised 
by the master-hand of the Athenian or Roman archi- 
tect have ever been discovered in the great Peninsula, 
the accounts of whose commercial wealth were matters 
of popular faith and wonder throughout the ancient 
world. And, what is probably a more conclusive in- 
dication of the permanent absence of foreign influ- 
ence than any other, however plausible, no name with 
a Greek or Latin termination has survived in the dia- 
lects of those Arabian settlements most intimately 
associated with the trade of Europe for many cen- 

This inflexibility of national peculiarities becomes 
invaluable in tracing the causes of the decay and dis- 
ruption of the great Moslem empires which subse- 
quently dominated so large a portion of the globe. 
The ethnography of a people who have stamped their 
characteristics deeply upon succeeding ages; whose 
customs, laws, and language have, to a certain degree, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 13 

survived their dominion ; the analogy between the re- 
ligious dogmas which they professed and those which 
have supplanted them; the play of passions, destruc- 
tive or beneficent, exhibited by those rulers whom 
hereditary descent or the accident of fortune raised 
to supreme authority; the development of the trans- 
planted race, its precocious maturity, the lasting 
effects of its intellectual supremacy, and its slow 
but inevitable decline, are circumstances well de- 
serving the attentive scrutiny of the philosophical 
historian. The absence of reliable information ren- 
ders impossible an accurate conception of the mental 
and physical traits of the Arab of two thousand years 
ago. But, as we know the extreme conservatism of 
Orientals, their pronounced aversion to change, the 
obstinate persistence of their traditions, and the gen- 
eral outlines of their character, we may with safety 
assume that the shepherd who now roams over the 
desert plateaus of Nejd and Oman is the intellectual 
counterpart of the Amalekite of the Bible, and that 
the Arab whose features are sculptured upon the 
eternal walls of Edfou and Karnak did not differ 
in any material respect from the predatory Bedouin 
of to-day. It is a strange anomaly in a land, the 
greater portion of which, either through the obduracy 
of Nature or the indolence of its inhabitants, had 
been for ages condemned to eternal sterility and 
isolated by sea and desert from contemporaneous 
civilization, to encounter a race whose genius was 
capable of at once adapting itself, with equal facility, 
to the formation and development of an agricultural 
system surpassing that of any other people, ancient 
or modern ; to the invention of mechanical devices of 
marvellous ingenuity; to the solution of the most 
abstruse mathematical problems; to the perfection 
of a graceful and exquisite order of architecture, 
unique in design, infinite in detail, remarkable in 

14 History of the 

execution, unrivalled in beauty of ornament; to the 
protracted investment of cities and the attainment 
and exercise of that proficiency in the intricate system 
of military tactics indispensable to success in the art 
of war; to the foundation and the preservation of 
empires. A long and tedious apprenticeship is usu- 
ally required for the attainment to perfection in any 
of these accomplishments; but the versatile Arab 
seemed, by intuition, to be able to grasp them all, 
without previous experience or instruction. In lit- 
erature, as well, was this pre-eminence of genius 
disclosed. Poetry was the sole form of literary mani- 
festation appreciated by the Arabic mind; improvi- 
sation the only talent it deemed worthy of applause. 
Even among the most intelligent, nothing deserving 
of the name of history was preserved ; and the gene- 
alogies upon which the Arabs prided themselves were 
merely interminable lists of barbarians of local or 
tribal celebrity, and dreary catalogues of idols. Yet 
their predatory hordes effected a great intellectual 
revolution in every country which submitted to their 
sway. In addition to their own memorable achieve- 
ments, they developed and expanded, to the utmost, 
the mental faculties of their subjects and tributaries. 
By precept and example, they aroused the emulation 
and rewarded the efforts of all who struggled to 
escape from the fetters of ignorance which had been 
riveted by the superstition and prejudice of ages 
passed in ignominious servitude. Their conquests in 
the world of letters offer a far more noble title to 
renown than the laurels won on fields of appalling 
carnage or the prestige acquired by the subjugation 
of vast provinces and kingdoms. To the finest liter- 
ary productions of modern times does this subtle 
intellectual power extend. The impress of Arabian 
genius can be detected in the novels of Boccaccio, in 
the romances of Cervantes, in the philosophy of Vol- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 15 

taire, in the " Principia" of Newton, in the tragedies 
of Shakspeare. Its domain is coincident with the 
boundaries of modern civilization, its influence im- 
perishable in its character. 

These far-reaching results are neither derived from 
spontaneous impulse nor are they of fortuitous origin. 
They indicate unmistakably a gradual and incessant 
advance through long periods of time. The inexor- 
able laws which control the destiny of man require a 
transition through many connected forms, insensibly 
merging into each other, eventually to effect radical 
changes in the mental and physical characteristics of 
individuals and nations. The evolution of a race, 
like the development of architectural construction, is 
slow but progressive. The union between the founda- 
tion and the superstructure is evident, although the 
former may not at the first glance be visible. A great 
distance separates the barbaric sheik of pre-Islamic 
Arabia and the powerful and enlightened khalifs of 
Bagdad and Cordova. Yet both the Abbaside and the 
Ommeyade dynasties traced their lineage directly to 
the Bedouin robbers, who, each year, waylaid the 
Mecca caravan. There is no apparent resemblance 
between the rude structures of prehistoric antiquity 
and the matchless edifices erected by Athenian genius 
and skill. It cannot be disputed, however, that the 
unhewn and misshapen shaft of the cyclopean quarry, 
which had neither fluting nor volute, base nor capital, 
was the architectural prototype of the superb columns 
which adorned the temples of ancient Greece and 
Rome. In view of the rapid advance of the Arabs 
under Mohammed's successors, we are forced to con- 
cede to their pagan ancestors not only intellectual 
powers of the highest order, apparently inconsistent 
with the degraded conditions of savage life, but also 
an extraordinary capacity for political organization 
and for the practical application of the principles 

16 History of the 

of every art beneficial to mankind; talents uncon- 
sciously formed and dormant through countless gen- 
erations ; a fact which may well excite the admiration 
of every scholar, and of which history in previous or 
subsequent times affords no example. 

The Arabs, despite their apparent barbarism, oc- 
cupy no contemptible place in the annals of antiquity. 
They conquered Egypt, and, under the dynasty of 
the Shepherd Kings, governed that country for many 
centuries. One of their race, enlisted as a private 
soldier, was, by a series of rapid promotions, raised 
to the throne of the Roman empire. Their cavalry 
fought with conspicuous distinction in the imperial 
armies. More than once the valor of Bedouin mer- 
cenaries determined the fate of the Persian monarchy. 
They constituted the greater part of the forces of 
Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, in her desperate struggle 
with Aurelian. Under whatever banner they served, 
their courage and tenacity of purpose were never 
questioned. It must be admitted, however, that their 
fidelity was not beyond suspicion, and that, only too 
frequently, the name of Arab was a synonym of 

The most remarkable peculiarity of Arabian life is 
its restless energy. The continuance of this condition 
from primeval times explains many of the distinctive 
traits so prominent in the character of the race. The 
well-known relation existing between commercial ac- 
tivity and civilized habits was powerless to change the 
existence of the nomadic Arab. His predatory in- 
stinct was always stronger than the attractions of 
sedentary comfort and opulence. Familiarity with 
Oriental luxury only increased his contempt for those 
who enjoyed it. His vagrant impulse carried him 
everywhere. He fearlessly penetrated the mysterious 
depths of the Libyan Desert. He served in the armies 
of Hindustan. He Avas enrolled in the Praetorian 

Mookish Empire in Europe 17 

Guards, where his natural rapacity was gratified and 
stimulated by the donatives received for the igno- 
minious sale of the imperial throne. For a consider- 
able time before the advent of Mohammed, an in- 
creasing spirit of unrest had characterized the Arabs. 
With roving and predatory tastes, there could, of 
course, be no attachment to the soil, a condition, in- 
deed, regarded by the Bedouin as a badge of servitude. 
It required centuries to correct this prejudice; but no 
change of residence, no association with populations 
long civilized, or even the adoption of a new polity, 
the admonitions of a new religion, and the powerful 
attractions of affluence and ease, were ever able to 
eradicate the spirit of individual independence and 
tribal hostility which were the most prominent feat- 
ures of the Arabian character. These national pecu- 
liarities repeatedly threatened the existence of both 
the Eastern and Western Khalifates in the days of 
their greatest splendor. They intensified the bitter- 
ness which marked the struggles of rival princes for 
empire. They promoted and sustained the feuds of 
the nobility. They lurked under the tattered gar- 
ments of the infuriated zealot. In the minds of the 
populace these feelings were scarcely ever concealed. 
They manifested themselves continually in personal 
quarrels, in the violence of mobs, in religious tumults, 
in insurrections, in the commission of frightful atro- 
cities. They were potent factors in the destruction 
of mediaeval Moslem civilization wherever established, 
and especially is this true of the Hispano-Arab domi- 
nation, the most advanced, if not the most despotic, of 
them all. The temperament of the Arab, impetuous, 
fiery, vindictive, though admirably fitted for conquest, 
was deficient in those qualities of broad statesmanship 
and impartial discrimination vitally essential to the* 
security and maintenance of government. Those who 
enjoyed the highest privileges of individual freedom 

Vol. I. 2 

18 History of the 

were the mountaineers, who, in their inaccessible 
haunts, inured to privation, skilled in all manly exer- 
cises, and ignorant of luxury, clung with obstinate 
tenacity to their idols, and defied all attempts of the 
Prophet to convert or subdue them. Nor did Islam 
enlist her adherents in the purlieus of crowded cities. 
In Pagan as in Moslem Arabia, trade and religion 
were closely associated. The sympathies of the organ- 
ized community were with the ancient religion, which 
contributed to its wealth, its employment, its personal 
profit, and its social distinction. The merchants and 
their numerous dependents looked coldly upon a reve- 
lation which menaced their revenues and their im- 
portance. The priesthood, recruited from the noblest 
families of the Peninsula, fostered this prejudice with 
an ardor born of instinctive hatred and professional 
pride. These two classes, therefore, contributed little 
to the propagation of the new doctrines; it was the 
wild hordes of the Desert that conquered the world. 

The Himyarite inscriptions, recently deciphered, 
have established the fact that, at an unknown epoch, 
two migratory populations, one proceeding from the 
North, the other from the South, came together in 
their course, and were so blended by association and 
intermarriage as to form, in a short time, a single 
people. This rapid fusion points to a common racial 
derivation, and it is not improbable that the northern 
division were the Canaanites expelled by the sword 
of Joshua. 

The very conditions of their existence, in early 
times, necessarily precluded the idea of systematic 
organization or concerted union among the vagabond 
tribes of Arabia. Their polity, if it may be dignified 
by that name, was essentially patriarchal. Chiefs and 
rulers were selected from families renowned for indi- 
vidual merit, noble descent, and antiquity of origin, 
and, in accordance with the paternal custom of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 19 

Orient, all retainers of the prince who, in fact, were 
usually related to him were in time enrolled as mem- 
bers of his household; and, in this way, fragments of 
certain tribes, drawn to a common centre by the ties 
of real or fancied kindred or through the fear of an- 
nihilation, acquired a great preponderance over their 
neighbors. Before the establishment of Mohamme- 
dan rule, there was no government, no code of laws, 
no superior authority either delegated to or assumed 
by the magistrate. Each family was independent; 
each member of it recognized no obligation to society 
except the protection of his clansmen. The instinct 
of self-preservation, the force of public opinion, and 
the apprehension of the encroachments of rival tribes 
were the only motives sufficiently powerful to effect 
a temporary union of those whose vital interests were 
threatened. The power of the sheik was nominal ; his 
functions advisory rather than executive. His sta- 
tion was one of more honor than usefulness; of his 
own volition he could neither direct military opera- 
tions, enforce obedience, reward merit, nor inflict 
punishment. The affairs of the tribe were adminis- 
tered by such of its members as were conspicuous for 
age, dignity, and wisdom. Even the decision of such 
a council was not imperative in cases where the gen- 
eral welfare was concerned; for, under such circum- 
stances, the judgment of every personage of wealth, 
rank, or social distinction was consulted. Absolu- 
tism, so prominent a feature of Asiatic government, 
and carried to such an extreme by Mohammed's suc- 
cessors, was thus unknown in ancient Arabia. Domi- 
nated by the tumultuous freedom of individual ca- 
price, its isolated communities were not even subject 
to the ordinary legal restrictions imposed by the voice 
of democracy; and their control approached as near 
to anarchical license as was compatible with the bare 
preservation of society. Natural obstacles, such as 

20 History of the 

the scarcity of water and the barrenness of the soil, 
added to long-inherited prejudice, traditional enmity, 
and difficulty of intercommunication, have always 
prevented the political and intellectual development 
of the Arabs in their native land. The persistence 
of his original institutions after the mighty revolu- 
tions elsewhere wrought by Islam prove conclusively 
that national regeneration of the Arab under the sky 
of the Desert is a practical impossibility. 

The life of the Bedouin was passed in unremit- 
ting hostility. War was the normal condition of 
his existence; it supplied the sole incentives he 
deemed worthy of attention the gratification of 
revenge, the acquisition of glory, the appropriation 
of the property of his neighbor. The indulgence 
of these passions, and especially of the ignoble 
propensity to rapine, and his cruelty, were his most 
conspicuous and discreditable characteristics. The 
occupation of robbery was in the eyes of the Arab 
rather honorable than otherwise, as it was inti- 
mately associated with the profession of arms. In 
a society without the resources of agriculture, manu- 
factures, or commerce, violent means must be relied 
on for the sustenance of life. In the Desert the only 
available expedients to this end were the plunder of 
enemies and the blackmail of travellers. The total 
absence of organized government rendered the pos- 
session of property doubly precarious. Nowhere else 
was the fickleness of fortune so apparent. The attack 
of a hostile tribe might render the most opulent indi- 
vidual a pauper in a single night. No vigilance could 
prevent such a catastrophe in a region affording un- 
limited opportunities for surprise and ambuscade, 
where there was no title to the soil, where the wealth 
of a community consisted largely of flocks of sheep 
and herds of camels. Under circumstances where a 
man's importance and position among his fellows were 

Moorish Empire in Europe 21 

dependent upon his inclination to encounter danger 
and his capacity to elude detection in the pursuit of 
pillage, poverty became disgraceful. Constant ap- 
prehension bred distrust of strangers, until it became 
a predominant national trait. Where two parties of 
Bedouins, unknown to each other, met in the Desert, 
the stronger immediately attacked the weaker. A 
daring predatory enterprise conferred the highest 
popular distinction upon its hero. A great robber, 
who united the qualities of courage and duplicity, and 
who had amassed wealth by his exploits, was the idol 
of his tribe. The memory of the famous brigand 
Harami is even now cherished in the Hedjaz with 
an admiring veneration scarcely inferior to that con- 
ferred upon his countryman Mohammed. 

The mental constitution of the ancient Arab pre- 
sented manv remarkable inconsistencies, most of 
which are still apparent in the character of his 
descendants. Brave even to temerity, he felt no 
compunction at the secret assassination of a foe. 
Professing reverence for age and relying for guid- 
ance upon the advice of the elders of his tribe, he 
did not hesitate to drive the old and infirm from the 
public feast. While the greatest renown attended 
the plunder of an encampment, the commission of 
a trifling theft made the perpetrator an object of 
universal detestation. He assisted the unfortunate 
and plundered the defenceless with equal alacrity. 
The exercise of a generous and unselfish hospitality 
was no bar to the pursuit of a guest after he had left 
the inviolable precincts of the camp. In many re- 
spects, however, the character of the Bedouin was 
eminently worthy of admiration. His courage was 
undisputed. He possessed a high sense of personal 
honor. The fugitive who solicited his protection, 
even though he were an enemy, was safe so long as 
he remained within the enclosure of his tent, and he 

22 History of the 

espoused the cause of the unknown suppliant as if 
it were his own. After sunset, his blazing watch-fire, 
like a friendly beacon, guided the course of the be- 
lated wanderer over the desert sea. He disputed with 
his neighbors for the honor of entertaining the 
stranger, and the deepest reproach he could un- 
dergo was the imputation that he was deficient in the 
virtue of hospitality. His sense of chivalry, nur- 
tured amidst the constant perils of an uncertain exist- 
ence, was conspicuous in the respect and considera- 
tion he afterwards exhibited in the treatment of 
woman. His simplicity of manner and gravity of 
demeanor imparted an air of dignity to his appear- 
ance, which elicited the respect of those far superior 
to him in rank, education, and knowledge. Patient in 
adversity, he considered the display of grief as an 
unpardonable evidence of weakness. His love of 
liberty dominated his nature to an extent impossible 
of appreciation by those subject to the salutary re- 
straints of civilized communities. The existence of 
many noble qualities in the character of the Arab, 
however, only rendered its defects the more glaring. 
His apparent imperturbability screened from the 
public gaze many vices and imperfections. Like 
all barbarians, his disposition was largely infantine 
and capricious, petulant, diverted by trifles, con- 
trolled by instinct rather than by reason, quick to take 
offence, and relentlessly vindictive. Of all beings he 
was pre-eminently the creature of impulse. His pride 
was inordinate, his rapacity insatiable. With him the 
prosecution of vengeance was a sacred duty, which 
took precedence of every moral and social obligation ; 
and such was his enmity, that he regarded the forgive- 
ness of a serious injury as the badge of a coward. An 
incorrigible braggart, he never hesitated to employ 
treachery when it would accomplish the purposes 
of valor. He practised cannibalism, and like the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 23 

ferocious Scandinavians drank from the skulls of 
slaughtered victims. Participation in these horrid 
banquets was not confined to warriors; women also 
were present at them, and wore, with savage pride, 
necklaces and amulets composed of the ears, noses, 
and bones of the dead. 

Under the pretext of preventing future dishonor, 
but really with a view to economy, under conditions 
of existence involving a perpetual struggle, he often 
buried his female children alive. It is said that Oth- 
man was never known to weep except when, at the 
burial of his little daughter, she reached up and caress- 
ingly wiped the dust of her grave from his beard. 
From such unspeakable atrocities as this did Mo- 
hammed deliver his countrymen. 

The Arabs practised both polyandry and polyg- 
amy to an extent rarely countenanced by other bar- 
barians. One woman, whose career would seem to 
be unique in the history of matrimonial achievement, 
was celebrated for having been the wife of forty 
husbands. In a society where communal marriage 
prevailed, the passion of jealousy was necessarily 
unknown. The Pagan Arab indulged to the utmost 
the vice of drunkenness, and prided himself upon 
his capacity to absorb great quantities of liquor 
there were some Himyarite princes who obtained an 
unenviable immortality by drinking themselves to 
death. Gambling was so popular in the Desert that 
the Bedouin, like the ancient German, often staked 
his liberty, his most priceless possession, on the toss 
of a pebble. Like the Hebrew patriarchs, he con- 
tracted incestuous marriages. He gloried in the 
name of brigand, and regarded the capture of a 
caravan as the principal object of life. It was not 
unusual for him, after plundering the dead, to muti- 
late them with a brutal malignity that would disgrace 
an American Indian. He tested guilt or innocence 

24 History of the 

by ordeals of fire and water, which he and his kins- 
man the Jew had inherited from a remote antiquity. 
The practice of licentious gallantry, universally prev- 
alent in the Peninsula, and celebrated in many an 
amatory stanza of the Bedouin poet, was temporarily 
checked by the austere rule of Islam; but, reviving 
ere long, under the congenial skies of Spain and 
Sicily, spread northward, and, inseparably associated 
with deeds of chivalry and romantic adventure, in- 
fected, in time, the rude and comparatively virtuous 
barbarians of Europe. 

An unusual degree of intelligence, a lively imag- 
ination, a vivid curiosity, a retentive memory, a child- 
ish love of the marvellous, distinguished the Arab of 
the Age of Ignorance from the other pastoral nations 
of Africa and Asia. Feuds between tribe and tribe, 
nourished by injuries mutually borne and inflicted 
for a hundred generations, intensified the ferocity 
of a nature which became, under such provocations, 
incapable of pity. Everything connected with the 
daily life of the warrior had a direct tendency to 
foster an already too violent inclination to deeds of 
blood. The war-horse had his biography; the sword 
of every famous chieftain had a name and a history. 
The sayings of the successful marauder, often uttered 
with epigrammatic terseness, passed into proverbs, 
and were quoted, with extravagant admiration, by 
his most remote descendants; his exploits, immor- 
talized by the stirring verses of the poet, were re- 
counted nightly by the camp-fires of his tribe. In 
case of the murder of a kinsman, no mourning was 
tolerated until ample vengeance had been taken for 
the crime. The execution of the savage law of blood- 
feud, while it contributed to stifle every sentiment of 
humanity where an hereditary foe was the offender, 
does not appear to have had any marked effect in 
increasing the fierceness of the character of the Arab 

Moorish Empire in Europe 25 

in his contests with those against whom he had no 
special cause of enmity. Where tribal hostility was, 
however, a point of honor as well as a religious duty, 
the vendetta was prosecuted with implacable severity. 
No circumstance of gratitude or chivalric attachment, 
neither the memory of past favors nor the hope of 
future distinction, was permitted to interfere with 
its rigid enforcement. The right of revenge, origi- 
nally descending to the fifth generation, passed by in- 
heritance, and was, in fact, never lost, and seldom 
relinquished. A regular schedule of fines was recog- 
nized, dependent upon the age, rank, and social posi- 
tion of the person murdered; but no family that en- 
tertained a becoming idea of its own importance and 
of the dignity of its tribe would condescend to accept 
the stated number of camels which ancient prescrip- 
tion and common consent had established as the equiv- 
alent of a homicide. This barbarous custom applied to 
every soldier slain in honorable warfare, as fully as 
to the victim of the assassin's dagger; and the whole- 
some dread of the consequences of a hard-fought con- 
flict, where a score of lives might be exacted in return 
for every fallen enemy, usually rendered the encoun- 
ters of the Arab comparatively bloodless. An ex- 
traordinary value therefore attached to human life 
in the Desert, where the killing of an individual might 
entail the extermination of a clan. Considering the 
bitter hostility evinced by many tribes towards one 
another, the consequences of animosity inherited for 
ages, and the continual opportunities for mutual de- 
struction, with their insignificant results, we may, 
without hesitation, conclude that the law of blood- 
revenge, despite the idea of ferocity it conveys, has, 
in reality, been powerfully instrumental in the preser- 
vation of the Arab race. 

The habits of the Arab were necessarily abstemious. 
The requirement of constant exertion to obtain the 

26 History or the 

necessaries of life, the uncertain tenure of property, 
the menacing presence of danger, the poverty of the 
soil, the national prejudice against industrial occupa- 
tions, were not conducive to indulgence in those vices 
which flourish most vigorously under the artificial 
conditions of an established civilization. The scanty 
harvests of the South were insufficient to maintain 
even the population of those thinly settled provinces. 
Among the products of the vegetable kingdom, the 
date was the principal reliance of the nomadic people 
of Arabia. Of this most valuable fruit a hundred 
varieties grew in the neighborhood of Medina alone. 
Its highly nutritious properties, its easy preservation, 
the convenience with which it could be transported 
for great distances, rendered it an article of food 
especially adapted to the denizen of those arid and 
unproductive regions in which it flourished, and which, 
without it, would have been depopulated. Even its 
seeds were an object of traffic, and were fed to horses 
and camels. With the Arabs, as with other nomadic 
races, a vegetable diet was resorted to only in case of 
necessity. The quantity of meat served at a repast 
was an index to the host's importance as well as the 
measure of his hospitality. A brass caldron was 
considered as of only ordinary size when it would 
easily hold a sheep, and some were so large that a 
horseman could, without difficulty, eat from them 
without dismounting. The morsels served from 
these seething receptacles were proportioned to the 
vessels in which they were cooked and to the vora- 
cious appetites of those who consumed them. The 
belief, prevalent among barbarians, that the charac- 
teristics of an animal are transmitted with undimin- 
ished vigor to all who feed upon its flesh, was shared 
by the Arabs. As their favorite meat was that of the 
camel, they attributed to its use their irascible temper, 
a trait which is prominently developed in that beast, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 27 

also noted among quadrupeds for its dogged ob- 
stinacy. In a land where barrenness so discouraged 
the labors of the husbandman and the shepherd, no 
object affording nutrition could be neglected, and 
even the insect world was called upon to contribute 
its share to the urgent necessities of humanity. Lo- 
custs, dried and salted, have always formed a staple 
article of diet among the poorer classes of Arabia, 
and, an important part of the larder of every camp, 
are sold in vast quantities in the markets of the 

The differences and the prejudices of caste, the 
most serious impediments to progress, were unknown 
to the proud rovers of the Desert, where individual 
merit was the highest title to respect. The authority 
of the chief was founded on the consideration he had 
obtained among the members of his tribe rather than 
on the illustrious circumstances of his birth or the 
antiquity of his lineage. Age was an essential requi- 
site to the attainment of official dignity, as indicative 
of the wisdom supposed to be the result of long ex- 
perience. With the Bedouin, there was none of that 
greed of power whose indulgence so often disturbs 
the peace, and inflames the passions of societies in an 
advanced state of civilization. The sheik governed 
through the respect entertained for his character, 
through the influence of his manners, above all, 
through his relationship with his clansmen. The 
paternal sentiment was paramount among the 
Arabian people. They cherished the memory of 
their forefathers with peculiar respect. The right 
of sanctuary attached to their sepulchre; the tribal 
organization and domestic traditions of the Bedouin 
were derived from this feeling of ancestral venera- 
tion. Like other Asiatics, they considered a nu- 
merous family the greatest of distinctions ; the father 
of ten sons was ennobled by a title of honor ; and no 

28 History of the 

nation attached more importance to the possession of 
phenomenal virility- In their treatment of women, a 
striking contrast exists, in numerous instances, be- 
tween the Pagan and the later Arabians. With both, 
it is true, woman was generally a slave. Yet some- 
times, in the Age of Ignorance, she was raised to 
official dignities, even to the throne itself ; her opinion 
was solicited in momentous affairs of state; and in 
the role of diviner and sorceress she wielded a power, 
unlimited for good or evil, over her superstitious fol- 
lowers. Often gifted with rare poetic talent, she 
competed, not without distinction, for the coveted 
palm of literary excellence. Tradition has also 
handed down the names and achievements of certain 
intrepid amazons, who fought by the side of their 
husbands and brothers; and whose determined cour- 
age contributed, in a marked degree, to change the 
fortunes of more than one doubtful battle. But, as 
a rule, both before and after Mohammed, the ad- 
vancement of the sex from a condition of servitude 
was resolutely discountenanced by the Arabs. In the 
Age of Ignorance, it was stigmatized by the ungal- 
lant epithet of ' Nets of the Demon." The sacred 
ties of blood, and the fact that with marriage woman 
did not renounce her hereditary privileges, could 
always command the assistance of her kinsmen, seek 
refuge among them, and be avenged by their valor 
in case of grievous personal injury, gave her a con- 
siderable degree of importance in the social system 
of Arabia. It is very evident that in early times 
polyandry prevailed everywhere in that country, an 
indication of a scarcity of females, and a custom 
always incident to a certain stage in the formation 
and development of society. Its prior existence is 
demonstrated by the vestiges of communal marriage 
to be traced to-day in remote portions of the Penin- 
sula, and in the well authenticated tradition that 

Moorish Empire in Europe 29 

female kinship was originally the rule in the Desert, 
the child belonging to the tribe and following the 
fortunes of the mother. Among the Bedouins, the 
only recognized methods of obtaining a wife were 
those of capture and purchase. The former was 
thoroughly congenial with the warlike instincts of a 
race whose possessions acquired an especial value as 
the result of martial prowess; the latter represented 
an indemnity for the possible loss of sons who, under 
other circumstances, would have become warriors of 
the maternal tribe. There was, however, no real dif- 
ference between the lot of the bride who, as the prize 
of victory, was dragged shrieking from the folds of 
her tent, and that of the smiling victim whose beauty 
had been bartered for a hundred camels. Both were 
regarded as chattels, and descended with other per- 
sonal property to the heir. As the population in- 
creased, and the means of livelihood became more 
difficult to procure, the appearance of a female child 
was looked upon as a calamity; infanticide grew 
common; and nothing but the hope of being able, at 
some future day, to add to his herd the camels of some 
prospective suitor, ever reconciled the mercenary 
Bedouin to the birth of a daughter. 

The attainment to a high degree of civilization with 
all its demoralizing influence was not able to destroy 
the native politeness, the air of conscious dignity, the 
noble hospitality, and the courtly graces of manner 
which distinguished the fierce and untaught tribesman 
of the Desert. His sense of independence was not 
hampered by invidious distinctions of rank or incon- 
venient regulations of property. His intuitive knowl- 
edge of human nature, his rare susceptibility to every 
impression which can improve and develop the mind, 
his capacity to deal with the most difficult questions 
of policy, his willingness to encounter the most ap.- 
palling dangers, were qualities which insured his 

30 History of the 

success in the most distant countries and under the 
most adverse and discouraging conditions. Despite 
his readiness to profit by the superior knowledge of 
his adversaries, he entertained the most extravagant 
ideas of his own importance, and looked down upon 
all who were of different manners, religious faith, or 
nationality. His inordinate family pride preserved 
for the astonishment of subsequent generations the 
endless nomenclature of his progenitors; and, at the 
birth of Mohammed, the most obscure and poverty- 
stricken individual could name, with a fluency born 
of long practice and traditional inheritance, his an- 
cestors for six hundred years. His language, won- 
derfully complex but flexible,, offering to the pur- 
poses of the poet and the orator by reason of its 
prodigal richness and inexhaustible variety every 
resource of sentiment, pathos, and eloquence, yet so 
easily acquired that it was spoken by young children 
with grammatical correctness and fluency, he justly 
boasted as one of the most perfect idioms ever in- 
vented by man. In short, the Arab regarded himself 
as the highest exemplar of humanity; his arrogance 
revolted at the idea of matrimonial connections with 
races which he deemed inferior to his own; and the 
pre-eminence he claimed for himself and his country- 
men was indicated by the prerogatives which he 
asserted Allah had vouchsafed to them alone of all 
nations; " that their turbans should be their diadems^ 
their tents their houses, their swords their intrench- 
ments, and their poems their laws." 

The pre-Islamitic religion of the Arabs was mainly 
a debasing idolatry polluted by human sacrifices, and 
ascending, by ill-defined gradations, from the lowest 
forms of fetichism to the adoration of the stars. 
Their faith was far from uniform, and almost every 
tribe had special objects of veneration and peculiar 
modes of worship. Some were absolutely destitute 

Moorish Empire in Europe 31 

of the idea of a God ; some grovelled before roughly- 
hewn blocks of stone; others worshipped trees and 
springs, the most grateful gifts of nature in a 
parched and thirsty land; others, again, greeted 
with praise the rising sun as its beams illuminated 
the purple mists of the Desert, or bowed reverently 
at night before the glittering majesty of the heavens. 
The members of certain tribes were materialists; not 
a few accepted the metempsychosis; many were 
familiar with the philosophical creed of the Buddhist, 
which regarded death as the irrevocable end of all 
spiritual activity, the beginning of a state of absolute 
quiescence, of eternal and immutable rest. The ma- 
jority of the Arab races, however, looked upon their 
idols as mediators between the Supreme Being and 
man. Hence they erected temples in their honor, 
named their children for them, made pilgrimages to 
their shrines, and solicited their good offices with 
precious gifts and offerings. The heavenly bodies 
were placed in the same category. Their intercession 
with the Deity was also invoked by frequent applica- 
tions; and to their power, thus indirectly exercised, 
were attributed the most important as well as the 
most trivial occurrences of life, the benefits of for- 
tune, the infliction of calamities, the mysterious and 
terrifying effects of natural phenomena. It is a 
superstition as old as the human race to imagine the 
universe to be peopled with mysterious beings, and 
the lives of men to be moulded by the beneficent or 
malignant influence of the stars. The worship of the 
Sun, the genial dispenser of light, of warmth, of 
health, in whose train follow the increase of flocks, 
the bursting of buds, the welcome sight of refreshing 
verdure, the author of all that is useful and attractive 
in every species of organic life, a worship which in 
ages of primeval simplicity has always most strongly 
appealed to the gratitude and veneration of man, was 

32 History or the 

highly popular in Pagan Arabia. Classic historians 
have established the fact that it was at one time 
almost universal in the Peninsula, where the idol 
which was the terrestrial manifestation of that great 
luminary was designated by the appellation Nur- 
Allah, "The Light of God." His authority was 
everywhere paramount, whether openly worshipped, 
represented by fire the great purifying agent, or 
exhibited under various symbols of force and power, 
which all nations, however separated, and differing 
in physical and mental characteristics, have, with 
wonderful unanimity, adopted as his peculiar em- 
blems. Temples were also raised to the Moon, Sirius, 
Canopus, the Hyades, Mercury, and Jupiter. But 
of all the starry bodies none enjoyed greater favor, 
or was worshipped with more splendor, than Saturn. 
His attributes were often confounded by his votaries 
with those of his kindred divinities Mars and the Sun. 
It has been proved by the learned researches of Dozy, 
that the famous Kaaba was originally a shrine dedi- 
cated to that deity. He was the Baal of the Hebrews, 
and once their tutelary god as well as that of the 
Phoenicians carried by the former during their so- 
journ in the wilderness, venerated by the latter in 
the magnificent temples of Sidon and Tyre. The 
extent of his worship in the East was, it might be 
said, coincident with the view of the brilliant planet 
by which he was represented in the tropical heavens. 
The giver of all material blessings, he was, in this 
capacity, invoked as the creator and preserver of 
terrestrial life; but he was also propitiated as the 
avenger of sacrilege and crime. Among different 
peoples he was adored under innumerable manifesta- 
tions. The familiar word Israel is a synonym of 
Saturn; the Hebrew priests knew him as Sabbathai 
whence is derived our Sabbath; and in Judea, as 
in Egypt, the first day of the week was dedicated to 

Moorish Empire in Europe 33 

and named for him. In Arabia, this popular divinity 
was known as Hobal, a word indisputably derived 
from the Hebrew language. Occupying the most 
exalted position in the Arabic Pantheon, while his 
image was anthropomorphic, he was, in reality, a 
representative of the monotheistic principle. His 
name and his worship in the Peninsula were alike 
of Jewish origin. Antiquarian ingenuity and re- 
search have traced his various migrations from the 
eastern shore of the Mediterranean to the province 
of Hedjaz, and have elucidated certain obscure 
Scriptural texts relative to his shrine, his worship, 
and his festivals. Among the multitudinous divinities 
which claimed the reverence of the ancient Arabians 
was also the Hebrew Jehovah, adored under the 
form of a he-goat, sculptured in gold, as well as 
the profligate Venus, known to the Babylonians as 
Mylitta, and to the Phoenicians as Astarte. As a 
tribute to their eminence in the Christian world, the 
Virgin and the Child occupied a post of honor among 
the three hundred and sixty idols which crowded the 
sanctuary of Mecca. In the religious system of the 
Peninsula there was no mythology, a fact which per- 
haps contributed not a little to its speedy overthrow. 
But, though polytheistic to the last degree, the Arabs 
recognized a Supreme Being whose majesty was 
confined to no particular locality, to whom no altar 
was dedicated, and who, too awful to be directly 
addressed, could be approached only through his 
celestial ministers the stars. This was the great 
Al-Lah, whose name, corresponding to the El and 
the Elohim of the Jews, was pre-eminent in honor 
and dignity, both in the Age of Ignorance and in 
the Age of Islam. The most superstitious races of 
men, and those that are the highest in intelligence 
among the most civilized, have and require no shrines. 

Vol. I. 3 

34 History of the 

In Arabia the whole Desert was the temple of the 
Supreme God. 

Associated with the most exalted ideas of divine 
power were to be found superstitions usually encoun- 
tered only in the primitive epochs of society. The 
wide-spread worship of the generative forces of na- 
ture, whose remaining monuments seem to the unin- 
structed sense of our cavilling age mere evidences of 
a depraved imagination, had its share of public favor 
in Arabia, where the male and female principles were 
adored under various symbolical forms. Many of 
these have survived in the monoliths scattered 
throughout the Peninsula, whose towering masses 
are regarded, even by devout Moslems, with no small 
degree of superstitious awe. The stone-circles and 
menhirs mentioned by travellers as existing in Oman 
and Nedjd are evidently of the same general type 
as those of Carnac and Stonehenge, and, from the 
descriptions given of them, of scarcely inferior dimen- 
sions, and perhaps of still higher antiquity. It is a 
singular circumstance, that gigantic structures, bear- 
ing such a common resemblance as to suggest that they 
were erected by the same race of builders and designed 
for similar purposes, should be found in countries so 
different in physical features, climate, inhabitants, re- 
ligious traditions, language, and history, as Central 
Arabia and Western Europe. 

Like other nations of ancient times, the Arabs in- 
vested certain trees with a sacred character, a custom 
indicative of the lingering influence of phallicism; a 
worship whose original principles, long forgotten in 
the Peninsula, survived only in the exhibition of its 
peculiar emblems and in the practice of a gross and 
shameless immorality. Among the Pagan Arabs, no 
form of superstition was too debasing to claim its 
votaries. They raised altars to fire. They attributed 
supernatural powers to the crocodile and the serpent. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 35 

Each tent had its image; every hovel of sun-dried 
bricks was filled with tutelary deities. Shapeless 
masses of stone, which tradition had associated with 
remarkable events or endowed with celestial origin, 
were approached with a reverence not vouchsafed to 
idols of the most costly materials and elaborate work- 
manship. Of these blocks, which partook of the na- 
ture of the fetich, the black were sacred to the Sun, 
the white to the Moon. In the Pagan world two of 
the former were especially famous; over one was 
erected a splendid temple on the mountain near 
Emesa in Syria, whence the infamous Roman em- 
peror Heliogabalus derived his name; the other was 
built into the wall of the Kaaba of Mecca. The latter 
was the most remarkable object of the kind known to 
antiquity. A plain fragment of basalt, seven inches 
in diameter, whose composition is apparently iden- 
tical with that of a neighboring mountain, it had ac- 
quired, in the eyes of the people of Arabia, a sanctity 
not shared by any other emblem of idolatrous worship. 
It was probably, in its origin, a phallic symbol, and 
stood alone in an open square of the city, ages pre- 
ceding the building of the Kaaba, an event which 
tradition has assigned to a date four hundred years 
before the foundation of the temple of Solomon. 
Thus invested with the sanction of immemorial pre- 
scription and the virtues of a miraculous relic, it has 
received the reverent homage of millions upon mil- 
lions of idolaters and Moslems. It has survived the 
accidents of conquest, of iconoclasm, of conflagration. 
The silver bands which unite its fragments bear wit- 
ness to the vicissitudes and rough usage to which it 
has been subjected. The healing power it was sup- 
posed to possess attracted the sick and the disabled 
from regions far beyond the limits of Arabia. It 
was the starting-point of ceremonial and pilgrimage. 
It imparted its virtues to the Kaaba, that temple 

36 History of the 

where alone, in all the Peninsula, hereditary feuds 
were suspended ; where violence was forgotten ; where 
rudeness gave way to courtesy; where the temporary 
surrender of individual freedom, and the voluntary 
relinquishment of tribal animosity, seemed to an- 
nounce the existence of national sentiment and the 
possibility of national union. The recognition by 
Mohammed of the claims of the Black Stone and 
the Kaaba the ancient temple of Saturn to public 
veneration, in a creed otherwise uncompromisingly 
hostile to idolatry, demonstrated the high estimation 
in which they were held by the Arabs. The latter, 
with their numerous shrines, their swarms of deities, 
their elaborate paraphernalia of worship and impost- 
ure, were, however, far from being a religious people. 
They evinced a decided aversion to metaphysics. 
Their ideas of personal liberty were not consistent 
with unquestioning submission to the tyranny of a 
priesthood. Their native intelligence rendered them 
skeptical; their nomadic habits were unfavorable to 
the maintenance of a permanent ecclesiastical estab- 
lishment. The multiplicity of deities had, as is in- 
variably the case, weakened the faith of the masses 
in any. The genuine piety of a people is always in an 
inverse ratio to the number of its gods. 

The early Arabians practised magic and divination, 
had recourse to oracles, maintained wizards and sor- 
cerers charlatans whose ascendency was largely due 
to the narcotics they made use of to open a pretended 
communication with the spirit world. Amulets were 
universally worn as a protection against the baneful 
consequences of the evil eye. Hand in hand with 
presages and magical arts, auguries, and incantations, 
came the incipient doctrine of the influence of the 
planets upon mineral substances, as well as a belief in 
their power to affect the destiny and welfare of man ; 
theories which, eventually developing into the vain 

Moorish Empire in Europe 37 

pursuits of alchemy and judicial astrology, indicate 
an acquaintance with the principles of science only 
acquired by much study and repeated experiments. 
The practice of these rites, so severely reprobated in 
the Koran, was associated in the minds of the people 
with the ceremonies of public worship during the age 
of polytheism. The words altar and talisman are 
practically synonymous in Arabic, a fact which dis- 
closes the intimate alliance originally existing between 
divination, sorcery, and religion in the Peninsula. 

Human sacrifices, so repugnant to all our ideas of 
piety and justice, but common to nations of Semitic 
origin, were of frequent occurrence among the Arabs 
before Mohammed. The mode of death was by fire, 
which removed every earthly impurity; but it was 
only in the fulfilment of a solemn vow, on an occa- 
sion of national rejoicing, or to avert some impend- 
ing calamity, that such a costly expiation was exacted. 
The Israelites, allied to the Arabs by the ties of con- 
sanguinity, and by similar religious conceptions, had 
also long been familiar with these revolting and cruel 
rites ; instances of whose observance will at once sug- 
gest themselves to all who are familiar with the Penta- 

The Hebrew has always exerted a remarkable in- 
fluence upon the public sentiment, the religious faith, 
and the foreign and domestic relations of the inhabi- 
tants of Arabia. A great analogy exists between the 
languages of the two nations, and the Hebrew alpha- 
bet was used by the prehistoric Arabs. It is believed 
by many Oriental scholars that Israel was not the 
founder of the people who bear his name; that the 
twelve tribes have a mystic relation to certain of the 
heavenly bodies or to the months of the year; and 
it is known that the word Keturah means simply 
" frankincense." No doubt now exists that the Jew 
and the Arab are of common ancestry. For a period 

38 History of the 

of twenty-five hundred years before the Hegira the 
former had been established in Yemen. The trade of 
that kingdom, with all its vast ramifications, was in 
his hands. His power enabled him constantly to 
dictate the policy of its sovereigns. 

His worship, equally idolatrous with that of the 
Bedouin for he was the descendant of the Simeon- 
ites, against whom, among others, the anathemas of 
the Bible were directed surpassed the latter in the 
splendor of its appointments and the insolence of its 
priests. In a land where toleration was otherwise 
universal, he was enabled to persecute, with im- 
placable enmity, Christian exiles, whom even the 
rapacity of the desert freebooter had spared. The 
rich settlements of northwestern Arabia were, to all 
intents and purposes, Jewish colonies. In the barren 
and inhospitable region of the Hedjaz, the Jew 
founded the towns of Medina and Mecca. In such 
a congenial atmosphere, the superstitions of Asia 
Minor obtained a ready acceptance. He established 
the worship of Baal, the most renowned of the 
Phoenician divinities. He introduced the rite of 
circumcision, hitherto unknown in Arabia. He com- 
municated his idolatrous observances to the popula- 
tion of the country which had offered him a refuge. 
He gave a name to its principal city, for the word 
Mecca is Hebrew, signifying " Great Field of 
Battle;" the Pagan ceremonial of the Hedjaz can 
be traced to Palestine, and the Kaaba was originally 
known as Beth-El, " The House of God." Quick 
to recognize the advantages to be derived by com- 
merce from religious pilgrimage, he made that city 
the centre of national devotion as well as the chief 
distributing point of the vast trade of Europe, Asia 
Minor, Ethiopia, and India. The excellent commer- 
cial situation of Mecca, near the Red Sea and on 
the great caravan highway connecting Syria and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 39 

Yemen, could scarcely compensate, however, for the 
serious physical disadvantages which unfriendly na- 
ture had imposed upon it. Its houses were crowded 
into a narrow valley two miles long by only nine 
hundred feet wide. The rays of a vertical sun beat 
pitilessly down upon a landscape destitute of verdure. 
Water, the most priceless of blessings in the Desert, 
was scarce and unpalatable. A salt effervescence 
covered the neighboring plains. The seasons were 
irregular; storms were violent; the coast of the 
Hedjaz possessed the unenviable reputation of being 
one of the most pestilential in the world. The city 
was dependent upon trade for the necessaries of life, 
and the unexpected delay of the caravan often men- 
aced the population with famine. Yet, with all these 
drawbacks, the commerce of Mecca flourished almost 
beyond precedent. Caravans of more than two thou- 
sand camels were no uncommon sight in its narrow 
streets. Each of these beasts of burden carried a load 
of four hundred pounds of rare and costly com- 
modities, silks, spices, ivory, gold-dust, and per- 
fumes. The annual exports of the town in the closing 
days of Pagan ascendency reached the enormous sum 
of fifteen million dollars, half of which was profit. 
Not the least of the sources of gain to the people of 
Mecca were the valuable offerings left by pilgrims 
and merchants in their temples. For a distance of 
leagues the ground was holy, and all who trod upon 
it could claim the right of sanctuary. The blood of 
neither man nor beast could be shed within these 
sacred precincts without incurring the imputation of 
sacrilege and the punishment of death. There was 
no traveller, from whatever country he came, who 
could not find, among the innumerable idols of the 
Kaaba, a familiar divinity upon whom to bestow the 
tribute of his devotion or gratitude. Of the immense 
profits resulting from the politic combination of 

40 History of the 

traffic and superstition, the Hebrew exacted the lion's 
share. His rulers met each day at the Kaaba to 
exchange views on finance and theology. The 
heathen legends of Palestine were incorporated into 
the new system, with the astral worship of the 
Sabeans and the polytheism of the aboriginal in- 
habitants of the Desert, itself derived from a thou- 
sand different and uncertain sources. The mono- 
theism of Israel was not recognized by the tribe of 
Simeon, which had been driven into exile long before 
the Pentateuch was written. Ideas thus blended in 
the popular mind for centuries might, under favor- 
able conditions, be modified, but never obliterated. 
There is no question that Islam is largely Hebrew in 
origin, although a considerable number of its cere- 
monies can be deduced from the customs of Pagan 
Arabia. In their migrations, which closed with the 
settlement of the Hedjaz, the Jews, while wandering 
far, had at last returned to the cradle of their race. 

The arbitrary rules of ceremonial cleanliness; the 
exclusion of blood from the precincts of the temple; 
the classification of certain animals as " holy," which 
an error of the translator has transformed into " un- 
clean;" the penalties for many offences; the adora- 
tion of Phoenician divinities; the nomenclature dis- 
closed by family genealogies; the correspondence in 
meaning of many terms used in their languages 
peculiarities common to both the Arab and the Jew 
go farther to prove an intimate relationship between 
the two races than the uncertainties of tradition or 
the association of neighborhood would tend to estab- 
lish. The antipathy to the Hebrew, subsequently so 
bitter among Mohammedans, did not exist in ancient 
Arabia. The Jew served with distinction in the 
armies of Khaled and Amru. Mutual aversion, how- 
ever great in subsequent times, was never sufficient to 
induce the Israelite to destroy those whom he regarded 

Moorish Empire in Europe 41 

as his kinsmen. As his myths had formed the basis 
of a new religion, his enterprise and assistance con- 
tributed, in no insignificant degree, to the foundation 
of a new and magnificent empire. He guided the 
councils of the most renowned Mohammedan princes. 
Without the dogmas he furnished, the history of Islam 
would never have been written. Without the sugges- 
tions he voluntarily offered, and the treasure he 
poured into the Moslem camps, the conquest of 
Spain could never have been achieved. The fairest of 
Mussulman writers have rarely failed to acknowledge 
the obligations of their countrymen to an unfortunate 
race which the prejudices of nearly twenty centuries 
have subjected to universal proscription. 

Christianity made no progress in Arabia until after 
its political alliance with Constantine had imparted 
such a tremendous impulse to the dissemination of 
its doctrines. The latter do not seem to be adapted 
to the Asiatic mind, and have never been able either 
to appeal to the reason or to arouse the enthusiasm 
of nations of Semitic blood. It offered little that 
was congenial with, and much that was abhorrent to, 
the lax and tolerant code of the independent and poly- 
theistic rovers of the Desert. At the birth of Mo- 
hammed it had already, for four centuries, been estab- 
lished in the Peninsula, and still, in the very shadow 
of its temples, the mocking Arab bowed before his 
thousand gods. The principles of the Ebionite sect, 
which prevailed in the Arabian churches, so far from 
attracting the curiosity or awakening the reverence 
of the sarcastic Bedouin, only served to excite his ridi- 
cule. The sublime truths of the religion of the Bible, 
the eloquence of its teachers, the piety of its saints, 
the pomp of its ritual, the promises and threats of 
its revelation, were lost upon the reckless freebooters, 
devoted to sensual pleasures, to escapades of gallantry, 
to the generous rivalry of poesy, to daring feats of 

42 History of the 

arms. The only mark of attention its adherents 
received was their classification with the despised 
Hebrew as Ahl-al-Kitab, " The People of the 
Book." In its adaptability to the requirements and 
the mental capacity of the multitude, it was ill-fitted 
to cope with the religion that eventually supplanted 
it. On one side were the incomprehensible dogmas 
of a debased Christianity, indispensable to its accept- 
ance; on the other, the simplicity of the profession 
of Islam, which even a child could understand. For 
these reasons it made comparatively few proselytes 
in the Peninsula, and at no time was acknowledged 
over any considerable area, except during the short 
period which intervened between the Abyssinian con- 
quest of Yemen and the rise of Mohammedanism. 

Many of the rites and customs adopted by the great 
Lawgiver, or preserved by his followers and gen- 
erally regarded as peculiar to Islam, antedated the 
Koran by centuries. The Mohammedan attitudes of 
worship are the same as those depicted upon the 
eternal monuments of the Pharaohs. The heathen 
pilgrims, clad in the Ihram, or sacred garment, seven 
times made the circuit of the Kaaba; embraced the 
Black Stone; ran the courses between the holy sta- 
tions of Al-Safa and Al-Marwa; cast stones in the 
valley of Mina; performed the ancient duties of 
sacrifice and local pilgrimage, and were systemati- 
cally plundered by the greedy and scoffing Meccans, 
just as all good Moslem pilgrims are to-day. The 
primitive Arabs inculcated the duty of personal 
cleanliness by frequent ablution. They shaved their 
heads, and used the depilatory for the removal of 
superfluous hair from the body. Like the Egyptians, 
they stained their hands and feet with henna, and 
blackened their eyelids with antimony. They re- 
moved their sandals, as Moses did, when they stood 
on holy ground. They scrupulously abstained from 

Moorish Empire in Europe 43 

certain kinds of food, and their actions were often 
governed by regulations practically identical, in their 
general character, with those prescribed by the canons 
of Jewish and Moslem law. 

The spirit of Arabian genius, destined in subse- 
quent ages to effect such a revolution in the literary 
and scientific history of the world, had in the sixth 
century of the Christian era disclosed no indications 
of its gigantic powers. No condition of existence 
could be less suggestive of a capacity for intellectual 
achievement than that whose main dependence was 
violence and plunder. The Arab of that epoch had 
no written records save a few obscure inscriptions in 
the Himyarite dialect, which have been deciphered by 
the plodding industry of modern scholars, and are, 
for the most part, epitaphs. Traditions, modified or 
corrupted by the vanity or the prejudice of each 
successive generation, were the sole and uncertain 
reliance of the chronicler. The power of memory 
by which these were retained and transmitted from 
an unknown antiquity seems absolutely miraculous 
and incredible. 

Although destitute of authentic history, and even 
unskilled in the common arts by which a nation's glory 
may be perpetuated, the early Arab excelled in a 
species of literary composition in which barbarian 
races have always exhibited the greatest proficiency. 
A talent for poetry, which invariably attains its 
highest development among those least exposed to 
the practical ideas and refined vices of civilization, 
was considered by the Bedouin as the most noble of 
human accomplishments. His temperament, his situ- 
ation, his pursuits, rendered him peculiarly susceptible 
to the charms of the Muse. His spirit was impetuous, 
his invention inexhaustible, his imagination riotous, 
his enthusiasm unbounded. From an abnormally 
sensitive nervous organization which nature had be- 

44 History of the 

stowed upon him, on occasions of prolonged mental 
excitement often proceeded an hysterical frenzy, a 
state declared by the most renowned of poets to be 
indispensable for perfection in his art. The scenery 
of the Desert ; its impressive solitudes ; the enchanting 
illusions of the mirage ; the magnificent constellations 
of the tropical heavens; the life of incessant peril; 
the exploits of romantic gallantry; the nocturnal 
excursion, the surprise, the battle, the retreat, the 
rescue, these all stimulated the imaginative faculty 
of the Arab, and urged him to the cultivation of a 
talent which might transmit to posterity events whose 
immortality was at once his personal title to honor, 
the pastime of his camp-fire, and the glory of his 
tribe. In the means at his disposal the poet enjoyed 
a rare, almost a unique advantage. The energy and 
softness of the Arabian language, its melodious char- 
acter, the abundance and variety of its metaphors, 
render it peculiarly available as the vehicle of poetic 
sentiment. There is perhaps no idiom which lends 
itself with such facility to the construction of rhyme ; 
for its very prose is frequently musical. The re- 
searches of modern philology have brought to the 
notice of Europe the complexity and perfection of 
its grammatical construction, the richness of its 
vocabulary, its boundless scope and graceful imagery. 
Most appropriately did the old philosopher, Moham- 
med-al-Damiri, referring to the native eloquence and 
exuberant diction of his countrymen, exclaim: " Wis- 
dom hath lighted on three things, the brain of the 
Franks, the hands of the Chinese, and the tongues of 
the Arabs." 

The poetry of the Arabs is even more obscure in 
its origin than the primitive history of their race. 
Without the assistance of writing, no literature, how- 
ever popular, can maintain its integrity for even a 
single generation. Even the phenomenal memory of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 45 

that people a gift so universal as not to elicit com- 
ment among them, and which was strengthened by 
the daily rehearsal of favorite compositions could 
only imperfectly supply the place of permanent and 
authentic records. The matter of the Arabian poems 
was therefore constantly changing, while the subjects 
and versification remained the same. Their form was 
generally that of the dramatic pastoral; sometimes 
the elegiac ode, which offered an opportunity for 
the enumeration of the virtues of the deceased and, 
incidentally, of the achievements of his tribe, was 
adopted. The genius of the pre-Islamitic poet never 
attempted the epic, which so often profits by the in- 
exhaustible resources of the fabulous; and, although 
surrounded by an atmosphere eminently favorable to 
the inspiration of such productions, it does not seem 
to have had an adequate conception of them. Its 
representations exhibited to the enraptured listener 
the stirring events of his adventurous life, which his 
pride taught him to regard as vastly superior, in all 
that promotes the dignity of humanity, to the corrupt 
and inert existence of civilization. The universal pos- 
session of the poetic faculty was one of the pecu- 
liarities of the Arab nation. Old and young alike 
seemed gifted with it. The rules of prosody, and 
even the simplest canons of metrical composition, 
were unknown. Yet such was the instinctive per- 
ception of rhythmical correctness, that the versification 
of the most humble was characterized by propriety 
and elegance, qualities which tended to enhance the 
fierce enthusiasm, the sublimity of thought, the 
touching pathos, the burning passion, which pervade 
the noble poems of the Desert. Many of the latter 
bear a striking resemblance to the Song of Solomon ; 
some are remarkable for their rhapsodies; others for 
their weighty and sententious wisdom; others again 
for their sparkling wit and pointed epigrams. The 

46 History or the 

seven poems called Moallakat, " The Suspended," 
a word of doubtful significance so far as its relation 
to these productions is concerned have always been 
considered the masterpieces of the ancient Arabs, and 
form the principal source from which our ideas of 
their attainments in the art of poetry must be derived. 
Popular credulity ascribed the name of these compo- 
sitions to their presumed suspension in the Kaaba as 
evidence of the triumphs of their authors over all 
competitors; the more rational conjecture, however, 
connects the title of Moallakat with a necklace or 
pendant, of which each poem formed a jewel, a figu- 
rative mode of designating literary works among 
Orientals, and one especially affected by poets and 
historians. The entire body of tradition, combined 
with facts accumulated by subsequent writers of every 
race and creed, does not afford such a thorough insight 
into the public and domestic life, the prevailing senti- 
ments and prejudices, the habits and customs of the 
inhabitants of the Peninsula, as do the Moallakat. 
They enable us partially to reconstruct the political 
and religious systems of the early Arabians, and to 
establish, by comparison, their identity with the con- 
ditions of modern existence, in localities where the 
sword of Islam has never been able to exterminate 
the detested practice of idolatry. They place before 
us, in all its impressiveness, the silent majesty of the 
Desert, its dazzling sky, its waves of quivering vapor, 
its interminable waste of sand; they pass in review 
the indolent life of the camp, varied only by a noc- 
turnal alarm or by some daring intrigue; they relate 
the exciting scenes of the foray; they delineate with 
erotic freedom the charms of the lovely Bedouin 
maid; they describe the fate of the female prisoner 
whose captivity was often the result of artifice or 
barter; they rehearse the midnight march under the 
starry firmament, which in the florid language of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 47 

the East "appeared like the folds of a silken sash 
variously decked with gems." Nor is the excellence 
of the Moallakat confined to mere description. The 
proud boast of exploits not unworthy of the Age of 
Chivalry, which, in fact, received its inspiration from 
this source; the sacred duties of a lavish hospitality; 
the rare qualities of a favorite horse or camel; the 
absorbing passion of love, its perils and its pleasures; 
the Herculean feats of virile manhood, these were 
the chosen themes of the Arab poet. His verses 
abound in moral precepts and philosophical apo- 
thegms, conveying lessons of worldly wisdom which 
recall, in both their phraseology and their profound 
acquaintance with human nature, the Suras of the 
Koran and the Proverbs of Solomon. In addition 
to maxims of a moral tone, scattered through these 
productions, they exhibit, on the other hand, much 
that is repulsive, cruel, and barbarous. Epicureanism 
is, however, the prominent characteristic of the Moal- 
lakat, as, indeed, it is of all primitive Arabic poems 
which have descended to us. The charms of wine and 
women, and an indulgence in the pleasures of the 
banquet to the extreme limit of bacchanalian revelry, 
are everywhere celebrated with a license worthy of 
the grossest couplets of Catullus and Martial. In the 
relation of scenes of intrigue and midnight assigna- 
tion, often laid in the camp of a hostile tribe, where 
discovery would have led to instant death, the adven- 
turous spirit of the lover is deemed worthy to rank 
with that which sustains the hero in the front of battle. 
The most fulsome adulation characterizes the homage 
tendered by the ardent lover to the object of his 
idolatry. Modern fastidiousness would not tolerate 
the descriptions given by the poet of the physical 
perfections of his lady-love in all their circumstantial 
details ; though translations exist, they are mere para- 
phrases; and the voluptuous images of the poet's 

48 History of the 

fancy still remain discreetly hidden in the obscurity 
of the original idiom. 

There is much similarity and repetition in Arab 
poetry, which the interpolations and substitutions 
inevitable among a people dependent for the 
preservation of their literature upon oral tradition 
will hardly account for. 

The existence of the Bedouin was bounded by a 
narrow horizon, the Desert was his world. Its familiar 
objects and localities, which never changed; the deeds 
which they recalled; the hopes which they inspired; 
the memory of ancestral renown with which they were 
associated, suggested the topics of his song. The 
haughtiness which was one of his most offensive char- 
acteristics, and forbade his permanent alliance or his 
intermarriage with other races, strengthened the feel- 
ings of reserve which had been a national peculiarity 
for countless generations. His ideas, his aspirations, 
his joys, his sorrows, evoked by the monotonous cir- 
cumstances of his environment, were little subject to 
deviation during the course of centuries. While his 
religion was a compound of all degrees of fetichism, 
idolatry, and astral worship, his poetry was original, 
pure, artless, and natural. His aptitude for versifica- 
tion was disclosed by the most trivial occurrences of 
life. A rhyming stanza, which set forth an appro- 
priate sentiment, was often the reply to an ordinary 
question. Where allusion was made to an historical 
incident, the speaker was often challenged to confirm 
his statement by the recitation of an original verse, 
or by an apt poetical quotation, as the most reliable 
authority. The quick perception of the Arab was 
shown by his ability to finish instantly a couplet corre- 
sponding in sense and measure with a line repeated 
by a competitor. Its general similarity to all others 
renders the assignment of any Arabic poem to a cer- 
tain epoch impossible, for the natural taste has never 

Moorish Empire in Europe 49 

varied, and a composition that was popular three 
hundred years before the Hegira would be equally 
acceptable to-day to the mountain tribes of Central 

In the opening lines of most Arabic poems, and in 
those of the Moallakat especially, there is a dearth of 
individuality, and a common resemblance which would 
almost suggest that they had been written by the same 
person. The purity of style which characterizes the 
latter was, however, universally admitted; they were 
the recognized standards of grammatical correctness; 
they were consulted whenever a dispute arose concern- 
ing the meaning of a word or the construction of a 
sentence in later authors was in doubt; and among 
Mohammedans the authority of those Pagan compo- 
sitions was never entirely superseded even by that of 
the Koran, whose sublimity of thought and elegance 
of diction were reverently ascribed to the direct in- 
spiration of God. 

We owe the survival of the Moallakat to the capri- 
cious taste of some self-appointed critic, who selected 
them from a number of poems with which he was 
familiar; and, through his arbitrary choice, we are 
deprived of the opportunity of forming an opinion 
of the others which his rejection has tacitly pronounced 
inferior. We know nothing of his qualifications for 
such a task, and are even ignorant of his name ; but, 
from the remaining fragments of these productions, 
we may safely conclude that some of them, at least, 
were as fully entitled to preservation as the seven more 
fortunate ones which have descended to posterity. 

It is a remarkable fact that no Arabic poem shows 
traces of Hebrew influence or contains ideas borrowed 
from either the Scriptures or the Talmud. The wealth 
and political power of the Jews; their intimate asso- 
ciation with the nomadic tribes of the Peninsula; a 
close similarity of traditions, customs, and language, 

Vol. I 

50 History of the 

produced no perceptible effect upon the prehistoric 
literature of the Arabs. The Hebrews of Arabia, 
nevertheless, had their poets, whose productions, on 
the other hand, exhibit a marked coincidence of 
thought and style with those of their Arab kinsmen. 
Their sentiments are lofty and admirable, their lan- 
guage pure, and their merit, while inferior to that of 
the Moallakat, is still far from contemptible. The 
Book of Job, which has no apparent connection with 
the rest of the Scriptures, has been pronounced by 
competent critics a translation of an Arabic poem. 

Improvisation, a talent possessed only by those en- 
dowed with unusual readiness of perception, a lively 
imagination, and an inexhaustible command of lan- 
guage, was practised with great success by the itiner- 
ant poets of Arabia. From their auditors, a couplet 
happily applied, by the inspiration of the moment, to 
some well-known evenjt, elicited far more applause 
than efforts, however meritorious, which had cost days 
of arduous labor. This art of extemporaneous com- 
position, which, when thoroughly developed, implies 
the possession of extraordinary mental ability, carried 
into Europe by the Moslems, and long employed by 
the troubadours, now survives only among the lowest 
class of the Italian peasantry. It is, in our day, most 
difficult to determine what degree of authenticity may 
properly be ascribed to the poetry of the ancient 
Arabs, none of which ascends to a higher antiquity 
than two hundred years before the Hegira. The un- 
reliability of oral tradition, the variety of dialects, the 
frequent substitutions of modern phraseology, the bad 
faith, interpolations, and mistakes of unscrupulous 
commentators, the corruption and suppression of 
passages through tribal prejudice all of these causes 
have had their share in effecting the gradual deteriora- 
tion of the grand and stirring poems of Arabia. 

It is impossible for us to appreciate the influence 

Moorish Empire in Europe 51 

exercised bv those who had attained to eminence in 


the poetic art over their imaginative and passionate 
countrymen. The Arab bard was without exception 
the most important personage of his tribe. Wealth, 
rank, beauty, personal popularity, military distinction 
alike paid tribute to his genius. To his talent for im- 
provisation and versification, he often united the three- 
fold character of statesman, warrior, and knight- 
errant, and thus became the model of his associates, 
the idol of the fair sex, and the terror of his enemies, 
who were as sensitive to the poisoned shafts of his 
satire as to the keenness of his sword. The most 
famous of these rhyming paladins, and the author of 
one of the Moallakat, whose life and achievements 
have been made the subject of a romance which ap- 
proaches more nearly to the nature of an epic than 
any other production in the Arabic language, was 
Antar. By instinct and training a Bedouin, he was, 
however, of Arab blood only on his father's side, his 
mother having been an Abyssinian slave. According 
to the custom of his country, he shared her lot until his 
bravery in battle induced his father to emancipate him. 
His amatory exploits, as well as his daring enterprises 
against the enemy, made him the admiration of the 
fiery Arabian youth. It was the regret of Moham- 
med, often expressed, that he had never seen this 
knight-errant of the Desert, who shrank from no 
danger, however appalling, who redressed the wrongs 
of woman, who restored the property of the plun- 
dered, and whose favorite maxim was, ' Bear not 
malice, for of malice good never came." 

The unbridled license of the Arabian poet offers a 
curious commentary on national manners. The most 
exalted dignity, the sacred attributes of the gods, the 
pride of opulence, the delicacy of the sex, were not 
exempt from the attacks of his venom and sarcasm. 
He exposed with relentless severity the frailties of 

52 History of the 

the wife and daughters of the sheik. He boasted of 
his own intrigues with a shameless audacity which, 
under more refined social conditions, could only be 
atoned for with blood. The immunity he enjoyed was 
one of the prerogatives of his calling. A certain 
sacredness of character was believed to attach to the 
latter by reason of the demoniac possession to which 
was popularly attributed the inspiration of the poetic 
faculty. His verses abounded in chivalrous senti- 
ments, but uniformly ignored the claims of religion 
to the veneration of mankind. No beautiful my- 
thology, like that of ancient Greece, was at hand to 
prompt the efforts of his muse. The maxims of the 
luxurious Epicurean were those that exerted the 
greatest power over his imagination and his life. 
An idea may be formed of the influence of poetry 
on the public mind when we remember that the 
Koreish in vain attempted to bribe the pagan bard 
Ascha to deliver a panegyric on Mohammed at the 
commencement of the latter's career, and, unable to 
secure his compliance, succeeded with much difficulty 
in purchasing his neutrality and silence at the expense 
of a hundred camels. The Prophet was so sensitive 
to the keen thrusts of the satirist, that when Mecca 
was captured and a general amnesty proclaimed, one 
of the four unfortunates whom he expressly excluded 
from this act of clemency was an obscure poet, Hab- 
bar-Ibn-Aswad by name, who had published a lam- 
poon against him. The Arabian bard, like his literary 
descendant the troubadour, was attended by minstrels 
who chanted his verses, often to the accompaniment 
of musical instruments. The latter vocation, regarded 
as degrading by the Bedouin, was always exercised 
by a slave. 

Islamism, while in other directions it zealously pro- 
moted the intellectual development of its adherents, 
fell like a blight upon the poetic taste and genius of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 53 

Arabia. The dreams of the poet disappeared before 
the stern fanaticism of the soldier, who had no time 
for rhapsodies, and cared for nothing save indulgence 
in rapine, the acquisition of empire, and the extension 
of the Faith. 

It is now generally admitted that the literary con- 
tests said to have taken place during the annual fair 
at Okliad, where, from poems read before an immense 
concourse, the one to be suspended in the Kaaba was 
selected, are apocryphal. Tribes of vagrant robbers 
who passed ten months of the year in plundering their 
neighbors would hardly consent to Spend the other 
two in an orderly assembly, composed mainly of their 
enemies, in determining by a popular vote the com- 
parative merit of their respective poets. The settle- 
ment of such rival claims for intellectual precedency 
by the voice of the people implies a degree of culture 
and critical acumen certainly not possessed by the 
. Arabs of that age. This idle tale has doubtless been 
suggested by the literary exhibitions of the Olympian 
games, and is perhaps indebted to the imagination of 
some garrulous and mendacious Greek for its origin. 
It is, however, unquestionable that the poet, as well as 
the story-teller that other important personage in 
the East was in high favor at all the fairs and 
assemblies of Arabia. The mixed multitude which, 
impelled by motives partly mercenary, partly relig- 
ious, collected on these occasions, and in its hours of 
leisure listened to the verses of the poet, constantly 
promoted his inspiration and refined his lays by the 
hope of applause, the fear of censure, the collision 
with foreigners, and the powerful influence of tribal 

The later history of the Arabs is decked with all the 
gorgeous imagery of the East. The fascinations of 
romance invest and embellish it. With the common- 
place facts incident to the various stages of national 

54 History of the 

progress are interwoven narratives of indisputable 
truth, but which, in their demands upon human credu- 
lity, almost surpass the fabulous legends of chivalry or 
the enchanting tales of Scheherezade. The primitive 
life of the Arabian people previous to the advent of 
Mohammed offered no indication of their extraordi- 
nary capability for improvement. Commercial inter- 
course with other nations for ages had, however, en- 
larged their experience, expanded their faculties, and 
aroused their ambition. The caravan winding amidst 
the lonely sand-hills of the Desert the precursor of 
those great expeditions which subsequently inter- 
changed the commodities of Asia Minor, Egypt, 
Andalusia, and India was also the more important 
agent of science, of refinement, of civilization. It 
increased the sum of geographical and historical 
knowledge. It familiarized the trader and his cus- 
tomers with the manners, the laws, the social systems, 
the mechanical skill, the arts, and the inventions of 
the most enterprising nations of the globe. These 
associations assisted in no small degree to generate 
the practical utility which, the most important feature 
of Arab learning, afterwards conferred such substan- 
tial blessings on mankind. The phenomenal advance 
of the race to maturity, impossible without previous 
preparation, was stimulated by perpetual wars and 
excitement. Less than one hundred and twenty years 
intervened between the vagabondage and ignorance of 
the Desert and the stability and intellectual culture 
of the great Abbaside and Ommeyade capitals. The 
career of the Arab was too rapid to be permanent. 
In four generations it had covered the ground ordi- 
narily traversed in twenty. Its delusive splendor con- 
cealed the decay which was coincident with the era 
of its greatest prosperity. The same causes which 
facilitated the foundation and advancement of his 
power and culture were active during their decline, 
and contributed to their ultimate destruction. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 55 

The statement may appear paradoxical, in view of 
the acknowledged influence of mercantile associations 
upon the faculties of the human mind; but a certain 
degree of isolation seems to be necessary, at least in 
tropical and semi-tropical regions, for the complete 
development of the arts of civilization ; and these arts 
have usually attained their highest perfection among 
nations which inhabit peninsulas. Egypt and China, 
whose reliance was entirely upon their own resources, 
were the most exclusive of nations in the ancient 
world, as were Mexico and Peru in the modern. The 
vast majority of the populations of India, Japan, and 
Spain had but little intercourse with those outside 
their boundaries, which were defended by stormy and 
mysterious seas. In no other countries have the 
powers of the human intellect, in the creation of all 
that is grand and imposing, of all that is beautiful, 
of all that is artistic, of all that contributes to the 
benefit, the cultivation, and the material improvement 
of mankind, been manifested as in Greece and Italy. 
And Arabia, although denied by Nature the advan- 
tages of soil and climate enjoyed by more favored 
lands, yet possessed what, in the crisis of her fate, 
rendered her superior to all her adversaries, a race of 
bold and hardy warriors inured to hardship by the 
privations of an abstemious life, and by habit and 
inclination capable of the most arduous and desperate 
enterprises. Their experience with the surrounding 
effeminate nations had taught them not only the weak- 
ness of the latter, but also how their coveted wealth 
might be obtained ; and at a propitious moment, under 
the guidance of an impassioned enthusiast, a horde of 
outlaws, driven from their homes by their scandalized 
neighbors, became the nucleus of victorious armies the 
fame of whose gallantry filled the world. And yet, 
while glorying in the deeds of martial heroism which 
insured the establishment and maintenance of her 

56 History of the 

Prophet's faith, she was conscious of the instability of 
an empire sustained by arms alone, and labored to 
raise upon more substantial and enduring foundations 
the splendid fabric of her greatness. The same fervid 
impulse which prompted and carried to a successful 
issue the conquest or extermination of those designated 
by the comprehensive term of infidel was able to adapt 
itself with singular facility to all the conditions of 
peace, and to enable the posterity of the half -naked 
banditti that swarmed around the banner of Moham- 
med to accomplish results worthy of the most exalted 
genius, and in every department of knowledge to 
ascend to the highest rank of those celebrated for their 
literary and scientific attainments in the most polished 
communities of Asia and Europe. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 57 




Comparative Religion, its Interest as a Study The Benefits of 
Islam Arabia at the Birth of Mohammed Condition of 
Christendom and the Byzantine Empire Popular Idea of 
the Prophet His Family His Early Life The First 
Revelation Persecution of the New Sect The Hegira 
Growing Prosperity of Islam Character of Mohammed 
Causes of His Success Polygamy The Koran Its 
Arrangement, its Legends, its Sublime Maxims, its Ab- 
surdities Its Obligations to other Creeds The Kiblah 
The Pilgrimage and its Ceremonies Reforms accom- 
plished by Islam Universal Worship of Force Corrup- 
tion of the Religion of Mohammed Its Wonderful 
Achievements Mohammed the Apostle of God. 

The study of Comparative Religion is one of the 
most fascinating, but at the same time one of the 
most unsatisfactory, of human employments. In his- 
torical research, in mathematical calculation, in chemi- 
cal analysis, in the investigation of natural phenomena, 
either absolute certainty or an approximate degree of 
accuracy is attainable. This, however, is obviously 
impossible in the consideration of questions with which 
the eternal happiness or misery of mankind may be 
concerned. Who is competent to determine the rela- 
tive value of the various religious systems, always 
mutually antagonistic, often irreconcilable, yet all 
alleged to have proceeded alike from the flat of 
Almighty God? Who is to judge of the peculiar 
qualifications of those who have arrogated to them- 
selves the important office of passing upon their re- 
spective merits? Why should certain doctrines be 
accepted and others repudiated by zealous but un- 

58 History of the 

critical sectaries? Where does this presumed inspira- 
tion begin and end? To use the words of the Koran, 
"What is the infallible? And who shall cause thee 
to understand what the infallible is?" Who, in short, 
possesses the touchstone of truth? 

The experience of all ages, the history of all nations, 
have established the melancholy fact that systems of 
religion are, like institutions of human origin, subject 
to the ordinary incidents of mortality. They have 
their age of youthful vigor and enthusiasm; their 
stationary epoch, when their principles have lost their 
expansive power; their period of degeneracy and de- 
cay. Their duration, like that of created beings, corre- 
sponds to the degree of vitality which they may pos- 
sess; their vitality is in proportion to the intrinsic 
merit of their doctrines, and their adaptability to the 
moral nature of man. As omniscience is denied to him, 
his estimate of the value of a divine revelation must 
necessarily be speculative and uncertain, largely de- 
pendent upon his intellectual capacity, and colored by 
the influences to which he has been exposed. On the 
other hand, many learned metaphysicians have argued 
with transcendent ability that faith is not accidental, 
and merely derived from volition and association, but 
is a matter of inexorable necessity, in which the will 
is absolutely powerless. As a result of inherited 
prejudice, the principles of every religion always 
appear heterodox, false, and absurd to sincere be- 
lievers in other forms of faith. Of all theological 
dogmas, none have suffered more from the effects 
of ignorance and injustice than those of Islamism. 
The name of its founder has for thirteen centuries 
been a synonym of imposture. His motives have been 
impugned, his sincerity denied. His character has 
been branded with every vice which degrades or afflicts 
mankind. The greatest absurdities, the grossest in- 
humanity, have been attributed to his teachings. Ec- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 59 

clesiastical malice has exhausted its resources in efforts 
to blacken his memory. Even in our day, compara- 
tively few persons are even superficially conversant 
with the doctrines which, in less than a century, were 
able to usurp the spiritual and temporal dominion of 
a considerable portion of the habitable globe. 

The love of novelty which reigns supreme in the 
human breast is nowhere more striking in its mani- 
festations than in the facility with which men adopt 
a fresh revelation. No new religion ever lacks prose- 
lytes. Imagination, sentiment, hope, fear, interest, 
combine to induce its acceptance, notwithstanding the 
obscurity which may invest its doctrines or the illit- 
eracy which often is the most prominent characteristic 
of its interpreters ; and if the conditions which attend 
its promulgation are not decidedly unpropitious, it is 
morally certain of success. 

Some embrace it through curiosity, others from con- 
viction, many from motives of selfishness. Its power 
is frequently in a direct proportion to the awe with 
which it inspires its votaries. As military glory is most 
admired by the populace, great prestige must of neces- 
sity attach to a creed which proselytes by conquest. 
On the other hand, apotheosis was considered the 
highest distinction attainable by the heroes and sov- 
ereigns of Pagan antiquity. Individuals whose 
genius had conferred great benefits upon the human 
race were assigned by public gratitude to a place 
among the gods. All the Roman emperors from 
Caesar to Constantine were deified. An atmosphere 
of peculiar sanctity invested the eagles grouped in the 
post of honor in the camp of the legion. The crucifix 
and the reliquary were borne in the van of crusading 
armies. A more or less intimate association has thus 
always existed between the sacerdotal and the military 
professions. The latter has repeatedly furthered the 
projects of the former. The priest has rarely refused 

60 History of the 

to absolve the offences of the orthodox soldier. Most 
religions have, in fact, been established or maintained 
by force. When we recall the overthrow of Paganism, 
the successive attempts to recover the Holy Sepulchre, 
the reconquest of Spain, the Inquisition, the atro- 
cities attending the subjugation of the New World, 
the utter devastation of Provence and Languedoc, the 
religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- 
turies, we should certainly not subject to invidious 
scrutiny the polity of Mohammed, whose history is 
free from the reproach of persecution, and whose 
supremacy was only partially established by arms. 

The examination and criticism of a religion whose 
canons have been honored with the implicit and rev- 
erent obedience of millions of men; whose dogmas 
have been recognized by the devout of many diverse 
races as inspirations of the wisdom of Almighty God ; 
a religion which, by the weapons of argument or by 
the resistless force of enthusiasm, subverted the power 
and absorbed the leading principles of other creeds 
whose traditions had hitherto enthralled the world, 
and which, despite the degeneracy of its practice, the 
divisions and consequent antagonism of its sectaries, 
the vicissitudes of many centuries, and the inevitable 
accidents of war, persecution, and treason, still mani- 
fests an astonishing and, to all appearances, an in- 
exhaustible vitality, is a great and arduous under- 
taking. The story of Islam, by whose influence the 
natives of the East and West, heretofore hostile, were 
joined in a bond of fraternal union and guided 
through a marvellous career of prosperity and glory, 
is the realization of what would have ordinarily ap- 
peared a most extravagant dream of conquest and 
dominion, and is without parallel in the annals of 
humanity. In the moral as in the material world, the 
most perfect and durable forms and systems usually 
arrive slowly, and by almost imperceptible gradations, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 61 

at ultimate maturity. But to this rule Islam was 
a striking exception. It attained the summit of its 
greatness, and raised the Arabians to an exalted rank 
in the family of nations, in a shorter period of time 
than is generally occupied by a people in passing 
through the primitive stages of their intellectual de- 

It refuted the familiar maxim of the Romans, whose 
foreign policy was based upon the fomenting of dis- 
sensions and the subsequent discomfiture of their 
enemies, and, assailing its adversaries simultaneously 
on every side, won its way by a series of victories sur- 
passing, in momentous results, the most renowned 
triumphs of the consuls and the Caesars. In the tra- 
ditions relating to the genealogy and history of its 
Prophet there is much that is enigmatical and much 
that is romantic. The latter deduced his origin from 
Ishmael, whom, with his unfortunate mother, Abra- 
ham, the acknowledged head of God's chosen people, 
had inhumanly abandoned in the Desert to starve. 

But in the seventy-one generations which separated 
Mohammed and Ishmael, a radical change of circum- 
stances had befallen the rival branches of the house 
of Abraham. The descendants of Isaac, who had been 
promised the earth for an inheritance, now enslaved 
or exiled, and proverbial for bad faith, had become 
reviled and contemned of all men. On the other hand, 
from Ishmael the vagabond, deserted by his father 
and renounced by his kindred, had sprung a noble, 
valiant, and hospitable race, whose destiny was the 
promotion of civilization and the extension of empire. 
And in due time the latter, having obtained possession 
of the opulent regions of the East, tolerated the de- 
spised Hebrew only upon payment of tribute, and 
restricted him to a distinctive costume as a symbol of 
his degradation. He was compelled, in token of re- 
spect, to remove his slippers whenever he passed a 

62 History of the 

mosque, and under penalty of the lash to kneel ab- 
jectly in the dust before the haughty Ishmaelite; 
while the capital of the land from which he had 
been banished, endeared to him by the memory of 
his sovereigns and the traditions of his faith, was in 
the power of his hereditary enemies, whose sacrilegious 
hands had raised the gilded dome of one of their 
proudest fanes upon the very spot long consecrated 
by the most revered associations of his race and his 
religion. The law of compensation, which controls the 
fate of man, was at last fulfilled, and retribution, if 
long delayed, was then exacted with relentless severity. 

The benefits wrought by Mohammedans especially 
during the Middle Ages have, until the end of the 
last century, been silently ignored or studiously depre- 
ciated by historians; in some instances through want 
of information, but, for the most part, because the 
phenomenal progress of Islam, when compared with 
the apathetic condition of other religions, suggested 
a formidable rivalry. But in this age, insatiable of 
knowledge and equipped with every means of obtain- 
ing it, it is no longer possible for clerical intolerance 
to obscure the splendid achievements of Moslem sci- 
ence. The day has long since past when the labors 
of astronomers like Ibn-Junis, of historians like Al- 
Makkari, of philosophers like Averroes, of physicians 
like Avicenna, and of botanists like Ibn-Beithar, can 
be treated with obloquy because they were not au- 
thorized by the decree of an Ecumenical Council or 
approved by a bull of his Holiness the Pope. 

The history of a religion, the exposition of a form 
of faith, is not infrequently the memoir of an indi- 
vidual and the chronicle of a race. As a rule, the 
union of the offices of Prophet and Lawgiver in a 
single personage deeply impresses the individuality 
of that personage upon the character of his nation. 
The annals of the Hebrews are indissolubly bound 

Moorish Empire in Europe 63 

up with the Holy Scriptures and the precepts of 
Mosaic law. The mention of ancient Persia suggests 
at once the texts of the Zendavesta and the ordinances 
of Zoroaster. The Koran is practically the biography 
of Mohammed, the tale of his sorrows, his aspirations, 
his failures, and his triumphs. And what more noble 
monument could Arabia boast than the proud distinc- 
tion of having been the home of a prophet and the 
cradle of a faith for centuries identified with religious 
toleration, with princely munificence, with scientific 
investigation, with literary merit, all intimately asso- 
ciated with her name and with the varying fortunes 
of her children? The latter, from the first, devoted 
themselves to the interests of civilization. They 
settled colonies of skilled artisans in the wake of their 
armies. They promoted manufactures, encouraged 
commerce, and in every department of industrial 
occupation stimulated the efforts of mechanical in- 
genuity. They developed the science of astronomy. 
To them chemistry and pharmacy owe their origin. 
While persevering botanists explored the flora of 
many lands, the mathematician, in his secluded re- 
treat, expanded and perfected the science of algebra. 
When a new region was subjected to their rule, all 
fruits, plants, and herbs, which examination or experi- 
ence had found to be either edible or curative, were 
inscribed upon the lists of tribute, and their im- 
portation and distribution became compulsory. They 
branded idleness with contempt ; they ennobled labor ; 
and even royalty did not disdain to follow the example 
of the Prophet, who, with his own hands, assisted in 
the erection of the mosque of Medina, the first temple 
of Islam. They translated and preserved for the 
pleasure and instruction of posterity the immortal 
productions of the sages of Greece and Rome. They 
fostered learning, and encouraged its pursuit by 
maxim, reward, and example, until it became a matter 

64 History of the 

of popular belief, as firmly grounded as the most 
sacred tradition, that the diligent cultivation of the 
mental faculties was an imperative religious duty. 

In ancient times, to compel the observance of a salu- 
tary law, it was connected with public worship and 
directly sanctioned by the precepts of religion. In 
this way, hallowed by divine authority, it acquired a 
force not obtainable by human enactment, and con- 
clusively indicated the wisdom of the sovereign or 
lawgiver who promulgated it. It was thus with cir- 
cumcision among the Jews, with the cultivation of the 
soil in Mesopotamia, and with irrigation in Egypt, 
where the Nile was deified as the creator and preserver 
of the harvests and the source of the material pros- 
perity of the nation. Mohammed was not blind to the 
advantages to be secured by this theocratic supervision 
of the affairs of mortals, and, by recourse to it, en- 
forced the adoption and practice of many healthful 
customs and profitable employments whose effects 
upon the subjects of his successors were of the 
greatest importance. 

The contagion of superstition, the impression pro- 
duced by the grandeur of scenery, and the periodical 
recurrence of mysterious natural phenomena must 
always be attentively considered in determining the 
philosophical belief and religious tendencies of a 
people. Intimate relations with Egypt, sustained 
for a vast but unknown period of time, have left 
ineffaceable traces upon the traditions of Arabia. 
In the religious system of the former country there 
was one Supreme Being. All other divinities were 
but manifestations of his majesty and omnipotence 
concealed under different names. From him ema- 
nated the multifarious triads, the personification of 
the Nile, the countless array of gods to whom the 
days, the months, and even the very productions of 
the earth, were sacred. The great secret that these 

Moorish Empire in Europe 65 

inferior deities were mere abstractions proceeding 
from a common Essence, to be eventually absorbed 
into it, a fate to which even the soul of man, after 
divers transmigrations, was subject, was jealously 
guarded by the Egyptian priesthood, and was the 
chief of its famous mysteries. The Sabeans of Ye- 
men, instructed through their mercantile relations with 
the inhabitants of the Valley of the Nile, had long 
been familiar with the idea of a Supreme God and 
the personified attributes of His power and dignity. 
This doctrine had spread from the South, and, at the 
date of the advent of Mohammed, underlay the idola- 
trous worship of which Mecca was the centre, and 
whose ramifications extended in every direction to the 
borders of the Peninsula. A considerable number of 
the more intelligent Arabs who professed adherence to 
the religion of Abraham, yet, in fact, knew nothing of 
that religion except that it was monotheistic, repudi- 
ated all forms of idolatry, and styled themselves 
Hanifs a word variously defined as " Incliners" and 
" Heretics." The Manichean conception of the Spirit 
of Darkness or, in other words, that important and 
enterprising personage the Persian devil, without 
whose presence no modern creed would seem to be 
complete was also unknown to the ancient inhabi- 
tants of Arabia. As the idea was imported, no 
branch of the Semitic race having been originally 
acquainted with it, it probably travelled in the train 
of Cambyses when he invaded the Desert; although 
Iblis, the Arabic name by which this spirit is popularly 
designated, is evidently of European derivation and a 
corruption of the Greek Atd/3oXo$. 

Nor have the physical features of the landscape less 
to do with the formation of man's moral impressions, 
and the direction of his impulses, than the reciprocal 
interchange of the ideas of contiguous nations. This 
is apparent in even a greater degree than the influ- 

Vol. I. 5 

66 History of the 

ence of soil and climate in the modification of his 
physical aspect and temperament. The more im- 
posing those features, the more profound the emo- 
tions they excite; and, partly for this reason, Asia, 
which Nature has endowed with the most stupendous 
manifestations of her energy, has been prolific of 
those superstitions which have exercised the most 
extensive and lasting dominion over the human mind. 

For more than a century *bef ore the birth of Moham- 
med, the most deplorable ignorance had obscured 
the face of the Christian world. The gentleness and 
beauty of the religion of Jesus had been supplanted 
by the direst fanaticism ; its altars had been profaned 
by heathen sacrifices and the adoration of images ; its 
priesthood had become inconceivably corrupt and im- 
moral. The countless sects evoked by the machinations 
and worldly ambition of the clergy had, by mutual 
recrimination, revolting crimes, relentless persecution 
of their adversaries, and obstinate refusal to listen 
to any plan of reconciliation, almost destroyed the 
faith of reasonable men in every religion. Each of 
these sects had a leader who was regarded by his 
followers as endowed, to a greater or less degree, 
with that mysterious power conferred by divine in- 
spiration. Disputes, frequently settled by massacre, 
were constantly maintained upon abstruse and frivo- 
lous questions in their very nature unanswerable ; the 
precepts of justice and the laws of morality were 
contemptuously disregarded ; and the sacerdotal class, 
instead of setting an example of piety and moderation 
to its congregations, was conspicuous in the daily 
saturnalia of rapine, lust, and murder. The Church 
had long since departed from the simplicity and purity 
of its original institution. For a century only after 
the death of the Saviour it had remained free from the 
influence of schismatic doctrines. While in compara- 
tive obscurity and acknowledged weakness, it offered 

Moorish Empire in Europe 67 

no inducements to the disturbing spirit of fanatical 
innovators or to the selfish schemes of political ag- 
grandizement and ecclesiastical ambition. In the 
beginning, divided into a number of federated re- 
publics practically independent, yet bound together 
by a common interest, governed by their own laws, 
relying upon their own resources, guided by the 
wisdom of their own ministers, their thoroughly or- 
ganized polity, their obstinacy, their claims to superior 
holiness, naturally excited the odium of the Pagan 
populace, and frequently provoked the wrath and the 
interference of Imperial authority. From a condi- 
tion of meekness, humility, and self-abnegation, the 
Church had become the prey of hostile factions, and 
was already tainted with scandal. Its synods were 
polluted with the blood of contending sectaries. Its 
councils resounded with the unseemly disputes and 
mutual recriminations of prelates more ambitious for 
the attainment of supreme power than for the dis- 
covery of divine truth. The Trinitarian controversy 
had nourished prejudices which centuries of apparent 
tranquillity had failed to eradicate. The spirit of 
persecution, incomprehensible to the polytheists, the 
essence of whose creed was universal toleration, and 
who could not appreciate the motives impelling the 
Christian to the employment of force to establish his 
doctrines, had early begun to manifest itself. Monas- 
ticism, synonymous with ignorance and intolerance, 
represented the sentiments and hopes of the most de- 
graded of the populace in every community of the 
Empire. At Alexandria and Nicea it had forced, by 
weight of numbers and by turbulent demonstrations 
of violence, the adoption of some of the most impor- 
tant articles of Christian faith. In every ecclesiasti- 
cal feud it had invariably espoused the cause of bigotry 
and imposture. The monk of the sixth century united 
in his character the inconsistent attributes of the priest 

68 History of the 

and the politician, the saint and the demagogue. His 
retreat in the solitude of the desert was visited by 
thousands of weeping penitents, suppliants for the 
doubtful but cherished privilege of. his blessing. With 
his companions, armed with clubs and stones, he 
fomented disorder in the streets of great capitals. 
His voluntary renunciation of the follies of the 
world was no bar to his greed of power. He dic- 
tated the policy of the Church. He settled involved 
points of casuistry. He formulated canons of eccle- 
siastical discipline. He enforced the claims of his 
faction by intrigues, by corruption, by the commission 
of the most revolting crimes. He aspired to and often 
attained the episcopal dignity. The superior num- 
bers, the fanatical spirit, the unanimous resolution of 
his order, gave him a preponderating influence in the 
Church not to be heedlessly resisted. Before the im- 
perial organization of the Papacy, the monk was the 
dominant factor in the determination of the laws, the 
measures, and the regulations of Christendom. 

It must be remembered that at that time there 
was no established, centralized, sacerdotal authority. 
Nevertheless, for more than a century, imperial offi- 
cials, designated for that purpose, had determined the 
degrees and inflicted the punishment of heresy. Con- 
fiscation, banishment, torture, and death threatened all 
who refused to subscribe to the doctrines which, vary- 
ing with different reigns, were promulgated as the 
momentary and uncertain standards of orthodoxy. 
The incomprehensibility of a dogma was considered 
an infallible indication of its truth. The philosopher 
was then, as now, stigmatized as the implacable enemy 
of religion. A reign of terror overspread the empire. 
Every scholar became an object of suspicious aver- 
sion. His neighbors shunned his company. The 
clergy anathematized him from the pulpit. Inform- 
ers dogged his footsteps and intruded upon his pri- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 69 

vacy. Indifference to religious duties, or an un- 
guarded statement frequently distorted by malice, 
was a sufficient cause for imprisonment. The dis- 
covery of an heretical passage in a volume of his 
library rarely failed to provoke a sentence of death. 
Such measures, equivalent to a proscription of knowl- 
edge, produced the most lamentable consequences. 
Literary occupations became to all intents and pur- 
poses criminal. Everywhere valuable collections of 
books were hastily consigned to the flames by their 
owners, apprehensive of being compromised by their 
contents. Oratory, except that of the pulpit, could 
not survive such restrictions. Public sentiment, con- 
trolled by ecclesiastical prejudice, became inimical to 
the maintenance of even ordinary institutions of 
learning. A blind reverence for the Church, and a 
disposition to enforce obedience to its mandates by the 
merciless employment of the secular arm, were popu- 
larly regarded as the duties of every member of so- 
ciety. It was the ominous inauguration of that 
fearful power which afterwards culminated in the 
irresponsible despotism of the Vatican. 

The Roman Pontiff had not yet stretched forth 
his mighty hand from the seat of ancient empire to 
allay dissension, and to enforce obedience to the edicts 
of the greatest hierarchy that has ever arisen to en- 
chain the intelligence and repress the independent 
aspirations of mankind. The final decisions of coun- 
cils had not been formulated upon controverted points 
of doctrine. The Patriarch of Constantinople first 
in ecclesiastical precedence, yet almost rivalled in 
pomp and prestige by the great episcopal dignitaries 
of Antioch, Alexandria, and Carthage exacted with 
difficulty the reverence of the giddy and scoffing mob 
of the capital, and could not always maintain the dig- 
nity of his office, even in the presence of his sovereign, 
who was sometimes a skeptic and often a tyrant. Nor 

70 History of the 

was the civil power, to which the ecclesiastical system 
was still jealously subordinated, in a less degraded 
condition. The authority of the Emperor was per- 
sistently defied in the precincts of his own palace, 
which, with the Cathedral of Saint Sophia, had be- 
come the theatre of the treasonable plots and licen- 
tious intrigues of infamous combinations of every 
class and nationality, and where a portentous union of 
monks, eunuchs, and women reigned unquestioned 
and supreme. A cumbrous and pompous etiquette; 
a theatrical display of costumes and devices; a court 
swarming with buffoons and parasites; an atmos- 
phere of cowardice, duplicity, effeminacy, and cor- 
ruption had supplanted the high sense of national 
honor, the austere dignity, the proud consciousness of 
superior manhood which, in the early days of repub- 
lican simplicity and imperial grandeur, marked the 
exercise of Roman power. The incursions of pirates, 
which the diminished naval power of the emperors was 
inadequate to check, had driven commerce from the 

Intestine broils, and the lawless conduct of the 
barbarian soldiery who chafed at the restraints of 
discipline, and whose incessant and exorbitant de- 
mands upon the imperial treasury had aided not a 
little to impoverish the country, rendered agricultural 
operations unsafe and unprofitable, and land was no 
longer tilled except in the immediate vicinity of 
large cities. Whole provinces, which, under the Ro- 
mans, had flourished like a succession of gardens, now 
abandoned and uninhabited, were growing up with 
forests and relapsing into the wilderness of primeval 
times. The dire effects of barbarian warfare were 
conspicuous in every province of the Empire. The 
fruits of centuries of civilization had disappeared with 
the conditions which had been favorable to their ma- 
turity and to the political corruption and moral de- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 71 

generacy which, more than the fortunes of war, had 
contributed to their annihilation. The proud title of 
Roman citizen, once coveted alike by foreign princes 
and aspiring plebeians, had been erased from the 
tables whereon were inscribed the most exalted dis- 
tinctions of nations. Society no longer wore the 
alluring aspect which it had exhibited under the 
luxurious dominion of the Caesars. The patrician, 
deprived of property and freedom, reluctantly 
swelled the train of barbaric pomp in the city which 
had been the scene of his extravagance, his tyranny, 
and his vices. The slave who had fled to the camp of 
Alaric or Attila now ruled in the palace which had 
formerly witnessed his humiliation, and was served 
by the children of those who but a few months before 
had made him the victim of their cruelty and caprice. 

The face of the country, repeatedly overrun by 
swarms of ruthless savages, presented a picture of 
hopeless desolation. The trail of the Gothic or Lom- 
bard marauder could be traced by heaps of whitened 
bones, by dismantled cities, by ravaged fields and fire- 
swept hamlets. The beautiful temples of antiquity, 
which had survived the decay of Paganism and the 
assaults of Christianity, were defaced or ruined. The 
exquisite memorials of classic art, the triumphs of the 
Grecian sculptor, were broken and scattered. Vases, 
whose elegance and symmetry had called forth the 
admiration of all who beheld them, had been melted 
for the sake of the bronze and silver of which they 
were composed. The gardens which had been the 
pride of the capital had been trampled under the 
hoofs of the Gothic cavalry. Here and there, amidst 
a heap of blackened ruins, arose a crumbling wall or 
a group of tottering columns, which alone remained 
to mark the site of a once magnificent shrine of Venus 
or Apollo. The repression of general intelligence and 
individual ambition among the masses had always 

72 History of the 

been a leading maxim of imperial policy. No system 
of education was provided. All exertion was discour- 
aged. The populace was for generations provided 
with food and amusement by the government. There 
was no inducement to mental or physical activity. 
The natural march of human destiny, the improve- 
ment of man's physical and social condition, was 
arrested. Enjoyment of the comforts of life ren- 
dered labor unnecessary. The paternal supervision 
and generosity of the sovereign made the criticism, 
or even the discussion, of public affairs irksome, un- 
grateful, dangerous. There being no longer any 
incentive to progress, society, in obedience to the 
organic law of its existence, began to rapidly retro- 
grade towards barbarism; a condition to which the 
division of the people into castes noble, plebeian, 
mercantile, military, and sacerdotal greatly con- 
tributed. Through ideas of mistaken piety, and 
allured by the prospect of idleness and comparative 
ease, a multitude of able-bodied men had withdrawn 
from the occupations of active life to the seclusion 
of the cloister, whence they issued at intervals, when 
summoned to raze some Pagan temple; to influence, 
by the terror of their presence, the vacillating spirit 
of an ecclesiastical assembly; or to wreak the pitiless 
vengeance of their superiors upon some virtuous 
philosopher whose intelligence was not profound 
enough to grasp the meaning of a theological mys- 
tery. The enterprising general who had raised him- 
self from a subordinate command in Britain to the 
imperial throne, and who, for reasons of state policy, 
had adopted and made compulsory the ceremonial of 
a religion whose benign precepts the base profligacy 
of his whole life insulted, possessed at least the stern 
and rugged virtues of a soldier. His effeminate de- 
scendants, however, both ignorant and careless of the 
arts of war and government, and devoted to the prac- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 73 

tice of every vice, had abandoned the administration 
to the perfidious and venal instincts of their retainers 
and slaves. Through the incompetency of the rulers, 
the insatiable ambition of the priests, and the un- 
bridled license of the mercenaries who composed the 
bulk of the army, all desire of the majority of the 
people in which was, of course, included the useful 
classes of farmer and artisan for the improvement 
of their circumstances had yielded to a sluggish in- 
difference to their fate. In a few generations social 
isolation became so thorough that the community of 
thought and interest indispensable to national pros- 
perity ceased to exist; and this seclusion of caste, in- 
creasing in a direct ratio with rank, finally fastened 
upon the most noble families the stigma of excep- 
tional ignorance. Indeed, in the palace itself, whence 
ecclesiastical bigotry had expelled all valuable knowl- 
edge, the education of princes was entrusted to nurses 
and domestic servants, whose pernicious influence was 
speedily exhibited in the superstitious fears and arro- 
gant behavior of their pupils, the future masters of 
the Roman Empire. The fusion of races had pro- 
duced mongrel types, in whose characters were de- 
veloped the most objectionable and vicious traits of 
their depraved progenitors. Constant intercourse 
with barbarians had transformed the polished lan- 
guage of Homer and Plato into an uncouth dialect, 
where the gutturals of the Danube, mingling with 
the scarcely less discordant accents of the Nile and 
the Rhone, had overwhelmed the copious and elegant 
idiom of the Greek poets and historians. The fanati- 
cism of an intolerant sect and the weakness of a 
succession of impotent sovereigns had extinguished 
the spirit of Pagan philosophy and ancient learning. 

Since the erection of the famous church of Saint 
Sophia the final effort of the genius of Byzantine 
architecture that art had fallen into desuetude, and 

74 History of the 

such of the famous structures of the ancients as sur- 
vived were used as quarries, whence were derived 
the materials for the basilica and the palaces of the 
wealthy and luxurious patriarch and bishop. But 
this, unhappily, was not the worst of the prevalent 
evils of the time. An organized conspiracy against 
learning existed, and was most active in those quarters 
where education, however imperfect, should at least 
have suggested the importance of preserving the 
priceless remains of antiquity. The art of making 
parchment had, with many other useful inventions, 
been lost, and, in consequence, writing materials had 
become rare and expensive. The monk, too idle to 
invent, but ever ready to destroy, soon devised means 
for supplying this deficiency. Invading the public 
libraries, he diligently collected all the available manu- 
scripts upon which were inscribed the thoughts of 
classic writers of whom many are now only known 
to us by name and, erasing the characters, used their 
pages to record the legends of his spurious saints and 
apocryphal martyrs. It is not beyond the range of 
probability that the original books of the New Testa- 
ment, falling during these evil days into the hands of 
persons ignorant of Greek, may have undergone a 
similar fate; which hypothesis may also account for 
the thirty thousand different readings of which 
learned divines admit that the Gospels and Epistles 
are susceptible. The manifold and prodigious 
achievements of Roman civilization its palaces, its 
temples, its amphitheatres, its aqueducts, its tri- 
umphal arches; its majestic forums, with their colon- 
nades of snowy marble adorned with the statues of 
the heroes, the philosophers, the legislators of an- 
tiquity; its military roads; its marvels of mechanical 
engineering ; its magnificent works of art ; its eternal 
monuments of literature ; the graceful legends of its 
mythology, perpetuated by the genius of the sculptor 

Moorish Empire in Europe 75 

in creations of unrivalled excellence; the glowing 
words of its orators which stir the blood after the 
lapse of twenty centuries; the prestige of its con- 
quests; the wise principles of its civil polity, gen- 
erally enlightened, often audacious, always success- 
ful were but trifles in the eyes of the debased 
Byzantine when compared with a fragment of the 
true cross, or a homily preached by some unclean 
and fanatic anchorite upon the metaphysical subleties 
of the Trinity or the theological value of a diphthong. 
Such, then, was the condition of the Christian 
Church and the Byzantine Empire at the close of 
the sixth century; to such a deplorable extent had 
barbarian encroachment, social corruption, and sec- 
tarian controversy undermined the foundation of both 
Church and State. In spite of its degradation, the 
latter represented the highest embodiment of mental 
culture and political organization which had survived 
the incessant depredations of barbarian armies and 
the demoralizing effects of generations of misrule; 
where the character of the monarch, both before and 
after his elevation to the throne, was dominated by 
the passions and infected with the vices of the most 
wicked and infamous of mankind. Throughout Eu- 
rope the state of affairs was even more deplorable. 
The Goths were masters of the continent, and the 
Vandals, traversing the Spanish Peninsula and 
planting their victorious standards upon the north- 
ern coast of Africa, had, after the commission of 
atrocities which have made their name proverbial, 
driven the descendants of Hannibal and Hamilcar 
into the desert and the sea. The schools of Athens 
that sole remaining seat of philosophical discus- 
sion and free inquiry in the world had been sup- 
pressed, a hundred and fifty years before, by Jus- 
tinian. The descendants of the Caesars, stripped of 
their splendid inheritance and reduced to degrading 

76 History of the 

vassalage, cowered beneath the scowling glances of 
the skin-clad savages who had issued in countless 
numbers from the forests of Germany and the shores 
of the Baltic. The effigies of the gods, the master- 
pieces of the skill of the Augustan age, had been 
tumbled from their pedestals, and the f etichism intro- 
duced by the strangers had been superseded by a 
corrupt form of Christianity scarcely less contemp- 
tible and fully as idolatrous. Rome had twice been 
sacked; Milan had been razed to the ground; pros- 
perous seaports had fallen into decay; the fairest 
fields of Italy had been made desolate, her highways 
were overgrown with grass, her aqueducts were 
broken, her fertile Campagna, once the paradise of 
the capital, had become a pestilential marsh, whose 
vapors were freighted with disease and death. 
Among the miserable, half-famished, and turbu- 
lent population of the cities, riot and sedition were 
frequent, but were hardly noticed by the haughty 
barbarian ruler, so long as the outbreak did not seri- 
ously menace his life or his dignity. Civil war, re- 
lentless in atrocity, completed the devastation begun 
by barbaric conquest and servile tyranny. The army, 
filled with traitors, offered no warrant for the sta- 
bility of government. Informers, that pest of a de- 
cadent state, swarmed in the Byzantine capital. Op- 
pressive taxation, enforced by torture, impoverished 
the opulent. Promiscuous massacre, instituted upon 
the most frivolous pretexts, intimidated the poor. 
There was no loyalty, no sense of national honor, no 
appreciation of the mutual obligations of prince and 
people. The martial spirit which had been the dis- 
tinguishing characteristic of ancient Rome was ex- 
tinct. The proverbial discipline of the legions had 
been supplanted by license and disorder. Immunity 
from foreign incursion was secured by the igno- 
minious and obnoxious expedient of tribute. Yet, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 77 

in the midst of this accumulation of horrors which 
threatened the total destruction of a society already 
thoroughly disorganized, numbers of resolute men 
existed in every community who, while despoiled and 
oppressed, had not entirely abandoned themselves to 
despair, and in the minds of many of these, imper- 
ceptibly to the masses, and, indeed, scarcely dis- 
cernible save by the most acute and sagacious ob- 
server, a great moral revolution was passing. The 
misfortunes which had befallen in succession the 
Pagan and the Christian religions had weakened 
the hold of both upon the reverence and affections 
of the multitude. Persons familiar with the Gospels, 
and with whom the Apocrypha claimed as much re- 
spect as the remaining portions of the Scriptures, 
looked forward to the coming of a reformer, known 
as the Paraclete, or Comforter, repeatedly promised 
in the Bible, whose mission was to restore to mankind, 
in its pristine purity, the truth as expounded by Christ. 
The material advantages which might accrue from the 
realization of this prediction were fully appreciated 
by the heads of a considerable number of contempo- 
rary sects among them the Gnostics, the Cerintheans, 
the Montanists, and the Manicheans, each of whom 
confidently asserted that he was the heavenly mes- 
senger referred to and that all others were impostors. 
The Gospel of St. Barnabas is said, upon very re- 
spectable authority, to have originally contained the 
word TlepixXvrog, " Illustrious," instead of Ylapdx?^rog, 
' Comforter;" and to have been subsequently altered, 
with a view to checking the increasing number of 
claimants to divine inspiration, whose pretensions 
were becoming troublesome and dangerous. Moslem 
ingenuity has shrewdly availed itself of this prophecy, 
which popular credulity accepted as a direct announce- 
ment of the coming Mohammed, whose name, " The 
Illustrious," is the Arabic equivalent of TlEpixTivrdg. 

78 History of the 

It is also stated in the most ancient chronicles that 
a prophet called Ahmed, or Mohammed, had for 
centuries been expected in Arabia, where the Gospels 
were widely distributed; and it is therefore possible 
that a word written in an unknown tongue, a thou- 
sand miles from Mecca, may have had no inconsider- 
able share in determining the political and religious 
destinies of a large portion of the human race. 

All things considered, perhaps no more auspicious 
time could have been selected for the announcement 
of a system of belief which based its claims to public 
attention upon the specious plea that it was not an 
innovation, but a reform, the purification of a mode 
of worship which had been practised for ages. It is 
usually far easier, because more consonant with the 
prejudices of human nature, to introduce an entirely 
new religion than to engraft changes, no matter how 
beneficial, upon the old. Mankind regards with eager 
curiosity a recent communication from Heaven, yet 
instinctively shrinks from serious interference with 
the time-honored ceremonial and revered traditions of 
a popular and long-established faith. But in Arabia, 
as has already been remarked, while there were innu- 
merable shrines and temples and a host of idols, there 
was in reality no deep-seated religious feeling. The 
prevalent worship was maintained through the influ- 
ence of long association rather than by any general 
belief in its truth, its wisdom, or its benefits. The 
claims of kindred, the maintenance of tribal honor, 
and the inexorable obligation of revenge had far 
greater weight with the Bedouin than the respect he 
owed to the factitious observances of his creed or the 
doubtful veneration he professed for the innumerable 
deities of his pantheon. The absurdity of their attri- 
butes, the inability of their gods to change or to resist 
the operations of nature, had long been tacitly recog- 
nized by the Arabs. Their idols partook of the char- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 79 

acter of the fetich, whose favor was propitiated with 
gifts, whose obstinacy was punished by violence. 
Long familiarity had lessened or entirely abrogated 
the awe with which they had once been regarded. The 
system which they represented had fallen behind the 
intelligence of the age, limited though that might be 
amidst the prejudices and superstitions of the Desert. 
A wide-spread and silent, but none the less vehement, 
protest against polytheism had arisen. At no time 
in the history of the Peninsula had been evinced such 
a disposition for reconciliation and compromise. In 
Arabia, therefore, as well as in the other countries of 
Asia, the season was eminently propitious to the 
promulgation of a new religion. 

The ignorance of the natural talents, general char- 
acteristics, and daily habits of the Prophet of Arabia 
almost universally prevalent, even among persons 
of education and of more than ordinary intellectual 
attainments, is extraordinary; especially when the 
abundant facilities for information upon these points 
are considered. No name in history has been sub- 
jected to such fierce assaults by sectarian bigotry and 
theological rancor as his. The popular idea of Mo- 
hammed is that he was a vulgar impostor, licentious, 
cunning, brutal, and unscrupulous; periodically in- 
sane from repeated attacks of epilepsy; given to the 
practice of fraudulent miracles ; a monster, who hesi- 
tated at no crime that would further his ends; who 
wrote a book called the Koran, which is full of sensual 
images, and describes heaven as a place especially set 
apart for the unrestricted indulgence of the animal 
passions. In former times public credulity went still 
farther, and Christian writers of the eleventh century, 
and even later, were in the habit of representing the 
greatest of iconoclasts who excepted from the clem- 
ency of the victor only the adorers of fire and of 
idols as a false god; a conception which, indicated 

80 History of the 

by the familiar word " mummery," has been incor- 
porated into our language. Afterwards he was con- 
sidered merely as a propagator of heresy, and, pun- 
ished as such, he figures in the immortal work of. 
Dante : 

" Poi che l'un pie per girsene sospese, 

and, finally, the absurdity of ignorance having reached 
its culmination, he was described as a camel-thief, and 
an apostate cardinal who preached a spurious doctrine 
through envy, because he had failed to reach the 
coveted dignity of Pope! Motives of ecclesiastical 
jealousy and religious intolerance led also to the sup- 
pression of information and the falsification of truth 
respecting the Koran. Hardly one person in ten 
thousand has read a translation of it ; indeed, this feat 
has been repeatedly declared an impossibility, on ac- 
count of the monotonous and prosaic character of its 
contents; nor has one foreigner in a million perused 
the original, which, it may be added, cannot be appro- 
priately rendered into another tongue. No complete 
rendition of this famous book into a living language 
was made for eleven hundred years after the death 
of Mohammed, and to-day not more than a dozen ver- 
sions, all told, exist. It has been, moreover, a rule, 
subject to but few exceptions and those of recent date, 
that translations, commentaries, and analyses of the 
Koran, edited by misbelievers, have been written with 
the express design of casting odium upon the Prophet 
and his followers. Under such unfavorable circum- 
stances, an impartial examination of the doctrines of 
Islam was impossible to one not versed in Arabic, and 
the public mind, which received its impression of such 
subjects largely from the pulpit, obstinately refused 
to consider any view which was at variance with its 
preconceived opinions. To obtain a competent idea 

Moorish Empire in Europe 81 

of the principles, the virtues, and the defects of the 
religion which he established, it will not be unprofit- 
able to glance for a moment at the salient points of 
the career and character of this wonderful man, the 
most prominent of his country, and the most illus- 
trious of his race. 

Among the ancient tribes of Arabia, highest in 
rank, most esteemed for intelligence and courage in 
a nation of poets and warriors, and renowned for a 
generous hospitality, was that of the Koreish, the 
hereditary guardians of the temple of Mecca. Proud 
of their distinguished ancestry and of the exalted posi- 
tion they enjoyed by reason of their office, which its 
religious functions invested with a dignity not inferior 
to that of royalty itself, and superior to all other em- 
ployments in a country where the jealous independence 
of the people precluded the exercise of kingly power, 
the influence of the Koreish over their countrymen 
was unbounded. The annual pilgrimage to the Bait- 
Allah, or " House of God," when hostilities were sus- 
pended, and devotees and merchants, rhymers and 
thieves, met upon a common equality in the enclosure 
of the temple an occasion which is said to have called 
together the brightest minds of the Peninsula to con- 
tend in friendly rivalry for the prize of literary dis- 
tinction was the most important event of the year to 
the Arabian, and was particularly advantageous to 
the perpetuation of the wealth and authority of the 
Koreish. Some of the tribe enjoyed the exclusive 
privilege of distributing water and provisions among 
the pilgrims during their sojourn in the Holy City 
an employment originally gratuitous, but after- 
wards a lucrative monopoly; others had charge of 
the buildings of the shrine; others, again, were the 
custodians of the sacred banner, which was only raised 
upon the occasion of the annual re-union of the 
Kaaba, or when the safety of Mecca was threatened 

Vol. I. 6 

82 History of the 

by war or sedition. The Koreish, moreover, aspired 
to a state of petty sovereignty; they despatched em- 
bassies to the neighboring tribes, made treaties, estab- 
lished regulations for the departure and arrival of 
caravans, which secured an organized, and conse- 
quently a more safe and profitable, traffic with sur- 
rounding nations, and exercised a nominal jurisdic- 
tion in both civil and religious matters over the entire 
Peninsula. Elated by their success, and by the hom- 
age universally paid them, they boldly abrogated 
many of the ancient ceremonies connected with the 
national worship, and substituted others better calcu- 
lated for the advancement of their pecuniary interests 
or the gratification of their political ambition. Some 
of these new regulations were unjust, and, as may be 
easily conjectured, were accepted with great reluc- 
tance by a population so opposed to innovation and 
impatient of restraint as that of Arabia; and the 
fact that they were adopted without serious disturb- 
ance shows conclusively that the attachment of the 
Arab to the gods of his country bore no approximate 
ratio to the awe with which he regarded their powerful 
guardians. In time, however, the rivalry of influ- 
ential chieftains of the various divisions of the tribe 
produced mutual distrust and enmity; dissensions 
became frequent, and the national influence of the 
Koreish, which the hearty co-operation of their leaders 
could alone sustain, began to be seriously impaired. 

Of one of the haughtiest clans of this distinguished 
tribe the Beni-Hashem was born, in the year 570 
of the Christian era, Mohammed, known to misbe- 
lievers as the False Prophet, and to the Moslems as 
the Messenger of God. A strange fatality, which is 
evidently based upon something more substantial than 
the uncertain authority of tradition, appears to have 
attended his family both before and after his birth. 
The household of his grandfather, Abd-al-Muttalib, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 83 

although it contained several daughters, could boast 
of only one son, a circumstance which, to a man of 
noble birth, in a country like Arabia, where a chief- 
tain's consideration was founded upon the number of 
his male descendants, where female relatives were 
classed with camels and horses as chattels, and were 
often buried alive to get rid of them, was looked upon 
as a disgrace as well as a misfortune. In bitterness 
of spirit, the sheik betook himself to the Kaaba, and 
invoked the aid of Hobal, the presiding genius of the 
assembled deities of the nation. At the conclusion of 
his supplications he promised that, if ten sons should 
be born to him, one of them should be sacrificed upon 
the altar of* the god. The prayer was answered, and 
in due time inexorable religious obligation demanded 
the fulfilment of the vow. Accompanied by his sons, 
Abd-al-Muttalib again approached the shrine of Ho- 
bal, and the customary lots having been cast, the god 
made choice of Abdallah, who subsequently became 
the father of Mohammed. Abdallah was the favorite 
of his parents and the idol of his kindred ; his manners 
possessed a rare fascination; he excelled the most 
accomplished of his tribe in the arts of poetry and 
eloquence, and his manly beauty has been celebrated 
by the extravagant praise of his countrymen. Ap- 
palled at the prospect of losing his best-beloved child, 
Abd-al-Muttalib was in despair, when the shrewdness 
of a female diviner proposed an ingenious solution 
of the difficulty. The established compensation for 
homicide, when the injured family was willing to ac- 
cept one, was ten camels; and the prophetess sug- 
gested that Abd-al-Muttalib again consult the deity, 
in the hope that he might be propitious and consent 
to receive the less valuable sacrifice. The mystic 
arrows were once more shaken and drawn, and, for 
the second time, Abdallah was devoted to death. The 
father doubled the number of camels with the same 

84 History of the 

result; but, nothing daunted, persevered until the 
tenth lot had been drawn, when the god deigned to 
accept the costly ransom. Thus upon the cast of a 
die depended the regeneration of the Arabian people, 
the conquest and subversion of the Byzantine and 
Persian empires, the impulse of modern scientific 
inquiry, and the future hopes of the Moslem world! 

Mohammed was a posthumous child. His father 
died while on a journey to Medina, and left to his 
widow Amina little save the memory of his domestic 
virtues, and a reputation for manly courage and un- 
blemished integrity. The boy passed his early years, 
as was the custom at Mecca, with one of the tribes 
of the Desert, where the coarse fare and active life of 
the Bedouin developed and strengthened a frame 
naturally robust and vigorous. At the age of five he 
returned to his mother's home, where, within a few 
months, he was left an orphan. His grandfather 
Abd-al-Muttalib then took charge of him until the 
death of the former two years afterwards, when 
Mohammed was taken into the family of his uncle 
Abu-Talib. The successive bereavements of relatives 
to whom he was devotedly attached had no small effect 
in determining the character of the future Prophet, 
already thoughtful and reserved beyond his years, and 
imparted a permanent tinge of sadness to his life. 
When he grew older he was employed by his uncle 
as a shepherd, an occupation considered by the Arabs 
as degrading, and only proper to be exercised by 
slaves and women. In his twenty-sixth year his hand- 
some face and figure, and his reputation for honesty* 
which had acquired for him the flattering title of 
Al-Amin, " The Faithful," attracted the attention of 
Khadijah, a wealthy widow and a distant relative, 
who made him a proposal of marriage, which he 
accepted. Khadijah was forty years old, and had 
already been twice married ; yet for twenty-five years 

Moorish Empire in Europe 85 

which intervened before her death and long after 
she must have lost her attractiveness Mohammed 
never failed in the duties of a constant and affec- 
tionate husband. She bore him six children, four girls 
and two boys, of whom the daughters alone survived 
the period of infancy. When he reached the age of 
forty, a great change came over Mohammed, and 
there appeared the first positive indication t of his 
aversion to the established worship of his country. 
His mother, who seems to have been a woman of 
highly excitable temperament, had transmitted to him 
a hypersensitive condition of the nervous system, 
which developed occasional attacks of muscular hys- 
teria, a disease rarely affecting the masculine sex. 
Long accustomed to abstinence, contemplation, and 
revery, he contracted the habit of seeking solitude, to 
muse upon the moral condition of himself and his 
countrymen; and as he grew older, and especially 
after his fortunate marriage had removed the neces- 
sity for labor, the passion for dreaming grew upon 
him. He often betook himself to Mount Hira, where 
a recluse once had his abode; and for days at a time, 
with but little food and depriving himself of sleep, 
in tears and mental agony, he strove to solve the prob- 
lem of divine truth. As continued fasting, excite- 
ment, and solitude inevitably produce hallucinations, 
it was not long before Mohammed believed himself 
visited by an angel, the bearer of celestial tidings. 
Doubtful at first of the significance of these startling 
visions, and in his enfeebled condition easily terrified, 
he fancied he was possessed by devils, and was almost 
driven to suicide. Finally, mastering his emotion, he 
returned to Mecca, and from that time visitations of 
the angel who declared himself to be Gabriel were 
frequent. In the original revelation, Mohammed was 
addressed as the " Messenger of Allah," and was 
directed to preach the unity of God to his erring and 

86 History of the 

misguided countrymen. His converts in the begin- 
ning were very few and composed of the members of 
his own family, his wife being the first believer. The 
new doctrines made slow progress; apprehension of 
the summary interference of the ruling powers made 
the proselytes cautious, and they rehearsed its texts 
behind locked doors and in the most private apart- 
ments of their houses. At the expiration of four 
years the adherents of Islam had only reached the 
insignificant number of thirty-nine souls. But now 
Mohammed grew bolder ; expounded his doctrines be- 
fore the Kaaba itself; openly advocated the destruc- 
tion of idols, and denounced the unbelieving Arabs 
as devoted to the horrors of everlasting fire. The im- 
passioned oratory of the Great Reformer had at first 
no appreciable effect. Most of his auditors regarded 
him as under the influence of an evil spirit ; some ridi- 
culed, others reviled him; but respect for his family 
and a wholesome dread of blood-revenge protected 
him from serious violence. In vain did he depict in 
words of thrilling eloquence the joys of heaven and 
the tortures of hell; his exhortations were lost upon 
the skeptical Arab, whose religion was a matter of 
hereditary custom, and who, in common with the 
other members of the Semitic race, had no belief in 
an existence beyond the grave. At length his de- 
nunciations became so furious as to raise apprehen- 
sions among the Koreish that their political suprem- 
acy, as well as the lucrative employments of their 
offices, might be endangered. A solemn deputation 
of the chiefs of the tribe waited upon Abu-Talib, the 
head of the family to which Mohammed belonged, 
and demanded that the daring apostate should be de- 
livered over to their vengeance. This Abu-Talib, 
although himself an idolater, without hesitation, de- 
clined to do, and, in consequence of his refusal, the 
entire clan of the Beni-Hashem was placed under an 

Moorish Empire in Europe 87 

interdict. No one would trade or associate with its 
members, and for two years they were imprisoned in 
a quarter of the city by themselves, where they en- 
dured great hardships. Nothing can exhibit more 
prominently the family attachment of the Arab and 
his high sense of honor than the self-sacrifice implied 
by this event, for it must not be forgotten that the 
large majority of those who suffered with Moham- 
med had no confidence in the truth of his mission, but 
were still devoted to the idolatrous and barbarous rites 
of the ancient faith. 

The cause of Islam had received a severe blow, and 
the threats and armed hostility of its adversaries boded 
ill for its future success. The Moslems who did not 
belong to the Koreish sought refuge with the Chris- 
tian king of Abyssinia, who peremptorily refused to 
surrender them upon the demand of an embassy from 
Mecca. At length, through very shame, the interdict 
was removed; the members of the imprisoned band 
came forth once more to mingle with their townsmen, 
and the exiles were permitted to return in peace. But 
persecution had not intimidated Mohammed, and his 
condemnation of idolatry and its supporters increased 
in violence. His uncle and protector, Abu-Talib, 
having died, his position daily became more critical. 
A fortunate occurrence, however, soon opened an 
avenue of escape. Some years before, a handful of 
the people of Medina had secretly embraced his doc- 
trines and sworn fealty to him as their temporal 
sovereign. Their numbers had greatly increased, and 
now, in acceptance of an invitation tendered him by 
these zealous proselytes, Mohammed prepared to 
withdraw from the midst of his enemies to the prof- 
fered asylum at Medina. The inhabitants of the 
latter city, who were principally agriculturists, were 
heartily despised by the Meccans, who considered 
every occupation but those of war, plunder, and the 

88 History of the 

cheating of pilgrims derogatory to the dignity of an 
Arab. The irreconcilable rivalry between the two 
principal towns of the Hedjaz had much to do with 
the adoption of Islam by the Medinese. The influ- 
ence of the numerous Jews of Medina had materially 
affected the religion of that locality, and their pre- 
dictions of the speedy coming of the Messiah, and 
the bestowal of the possessions of the Gentiles upon 
his chosen people, had attracted the attention, and at 
times aroused the fears, of the idolaters of that city. 
When, therefore, the report was circulated that a 
prophet had arisen at Mecca, the Medinese naturally 
concluded that he must be the Messiah expected by 
the Hebrews, and they determined to forestall the 
latter by being the first to extend to him a welcome, 
and thereby secure his favor. It was from these 
motives that the alliance between Mohammed and 
the citizens of Medina was concluded; an alliance 
whose results were little anticipated by the parties 
to its provisions, and whose importance has been 
disclosed by the portentous events of many subse- 
quent centuries. Intelligence of this proceeding 
having reached the Koreish, they prepared for de- 
cisive measures, and held a meeting, in which, without 
apparently taking any precautions to conceal their 
design, the assassination of Mohammed was resolved 
upon. The latter, having received timely warning, 
escaped by night, with his friend Abu-Bekr, and, 
concealed in a cave in the mountains, eluded the vigi- 
lance of his enemies until a few days afterwards they 
found means to reach Medina. This event occurred 
in the year 622 a.d., and, marking the era of the He- 
gira or " Flight," is, as is well known, the starting- 
point of Moslem chronology. Its usefulness, how- 
ever, anticipated its legality for three hundred years, 
and it was not publicly authorized by law until the 
tenth century. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 89 

On his arrival, the first care of the Prophet was 
the erection of a mosque and the institution and 
arrangement of the ritual of Islam; the next, the 
reconciliation of the two hostile Arab factions whose 
tumults kept the city in an uproar; and the third 
the only task in which he was unsuccessful the con- 
version of the Jews. Hardly was he domiciled at 
Medina before he abandoned the continence which 
had hitherto adorned his life and placed his char- 
acter in such a favorable light when compared with 
the excesses of his libidinous countrymen, and by 
degrees increased his harem until it numbered, in- 
cluding wives and concubines, nearly a score of 
women. And now appeared also other changes of 
a religious and political nature, when the humility 
and patience of the preacher were eclipsed by the 
ambitious plans of the sovereign, eventually realized 
in the proselytism of entire nations and the intoxica- 
tion and glory of foreign conquest. The employment 
of force had never been mentioned at Mecca, but the 
vexations, contempt, and ill-usage of years had borne 
bitter fruit, and at Medina was received the first 
revelation commanding the propagation of Islam by 
the sword. At first desultory attacks were made upon 
caravans; then followed the engagement of Bedr, 
where three hundred believers defeated a thousand of 
the Koreish, and the battle of Ohod, which ended with 
the wounding of Mohammed and the total rout of 
the Moslem army. The blockade of Medina, under- 
taken three years later by the chiefs of Mecca, ended 
disastrously for them, as the fiery Arab could not be 
brought to endure the restraint and inactivity incident 
to the protracted operations of a siege. Next came 
the expulsion of the disaffected Jews from the city, 
a measure not unattended by acts of injustice and san- 
guinary violence, but imperatively demanded by the 
requirements of political necessity. The power and 

90 History of the 

prestige of Mohammed now grew apace; tribe after 
tribe joined his standard; distant princes sent him 
costly gifts and voluntarily tendered their allegi- 
ance ; and in the year 630 the eighth of the Hegira 
he prepared for the invasion of the sacred territory 
and the conquest of Mecca. Only a short time before, 
guarded by two faithful companions, he had fled from 
the Holy City with a reward of a hundred camels and 
forty ounces of gold upon his head; now he returned 
in royal state, at the head of ten thousand warriors, 
most of whom would have gladly laid down their lives 
at his command, and all of whom acknowledged him 
to be the Apostle of God. Before this imposing ar- 
ray, inspired with the fervor of religious enthusiasm, 
resistance was hopeless. The people fled to their 
houses and to the sanctuary of the temple, and the 
invading army occupied the city. The rights and 
property of the citizens were respected ; there was no 
massacre and no pillage ; no violence was offered, ex- 
cept to the images of the Kaaba, which were shattered 
to pieces without delay or opposition, for the idolaters 
viewed with but little emotion the destruction of the 
tutelary deities of many generations, whose inability 
to protect their worshippers had been so signally dem- 
onstrated. With a magnanimity unequalled in the 
annals of war, a general amnesty was proclaimed, 
and but four persons, whose offences were considered 
unpardonable, suffered the penalty of death. When 
the various ceremonies consecrated by the usage of 
centuries and destined henceforth to form an integral 
part of the Moslem ritual had been accomplished, and 
the Pagan altars in the vicinity of Mecca had been 
swept away, Mohammed set forth to subdue the re- 
maining tribes that disputed his authority. A single 
battle sufficed; Tayif, the sole important stronghold 
that still held out, voluntarily submitted after an un- 
successful siege; and the supremacy of the Prophet 

Moorish Empiee in Europe 91 

was henceforth acknowledged over the Arabian Pen- 
insula. Three months after the subjugation of Mecca, 
Mohammed, who already seemed to have had a pre- 
sentiment of his approaching end, accompanied by an 
immense multitude, performed the pilgrimage which 
his teachings enjoined as an indispensable duty upon 
all his followers. Leaving Mecca for the last time, he 
slowly retraced his steps to the home of his adoption, 
whose people, more generous than his kinsmen, had 
received and protected him when a persecuted fugi- 
tive, whose factions he had reconciled, who were 
proud of his renown, and who, despite his kindness 
and the natural urbanity of his manners, never failed 
to approach his presence with all the reverential awe 
due to the possessor of divine favor and supernatural 
powers. His constitution, though originally fortified 
by abstinence and a simple diet, had for years given 
evidence of debility and decay, for his health had been 
seriously impaired by poison administered by a Jew- 
ish captive, whom his magnanimous spirit refused to 
punish; and, after a short illness, he expired in the 
arms of his favorite wife, Ayesha, upon the eighth of 
June, 632. 

There have been few great actors upon the stage 
of the world the events of whose lives have been so 
carefully preserved as those of Mohammed, although 
no native contemporaneous writer has recorded his 
history. And yet there is no man whose talents raised 
him to extraordinary eminence whose deeds and 
whose character are so unfamiliar to Christian readers 
as his. Few know him but as a successful impostor. 
Many believe him to have been an idolater. Almost 
all attribute to him indulgence in the most degrading 
of vices, cruelty, avarice, licentiousness. Even 
Christian viceroys who have lived long in Moham- 
medan countries know nothing of the doctrines and 
the career of one of the most renowned of reformers 

92 History or the 

and legislators. His personal appearance, his occu- 
pations, his tastes, his weaknesses even a strong 
proof of the honesty and credibility of the Mus- 
sulman narrators have been related by the latter 
with scrupulous minuteness. His sayings and the 
opinions attributed to him, embodied in the Sunnah, 
are considered by devout Moslems as second only in 
sanctity to the verses of the Koran, and have given 
rise to the amazing number of six hundred thousand 
traditions, which laborious commentators have seen 
proper, upon doubtful evidence, to reduce to four 
thousand that may be relied upon as genuine. The 
study of the Koran, however, affords a better insight 
into the character of the Prophet than the uncertain 
and suspicious testimony of the Sunnah. It is the 
mirror in which are reflected the sincere convictions, 
the lofty aims, the political experiments, the domestic 
troubles, the hopes and apprehensions which, through 
many trials and perplexities, influenced the mind and 
directed the movements of the author in his career, 
from the position of a simple citizen of Mecca to the 
exalted dignity of sole ruler of Arabia. The estimate 
of Mohammed in the Sunnah, which has been trans- 
mitted by his early associates, who knew him well and 
daily observed his conduct in the time of his obscurity, 
is nevertheless entitled to far more credit than any 
opinion that may have been formed without the assist- 
ance of tradition by the most capable scholar after the 
lapse of even a single century. But unfortunately, in 
many instances, their accounts have been so corrupted 
by the fabulous embellishments of subsequent com- 
mentators as to detract much from their undoubted 
historical value. 

The most conspicuous trait of Mohammed was his 
absolute inflexibility of purpose. From the hour 
when he first communicated to Khadijah his belief 
in his mission, through the long and weary years of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 93 

mockery, persecution, conspiracy, and exile, during 
the even more trying period of prosperity and em- 
pire, up to the sad final scene in the house of Ayesha, 
he persevered unflinchingly in the plan which he had 
proposed for his guidance, and which had for its end 
the abolition of idolatry, the improvement of his 
countrymen, and the establishment of the sublime 
and philosophical dogma of the unity of God. The 
only rational explanation that can be given of this 
remarkable conduct in the midst of difficulties and 
perils which would have shaken the constancy of a 
mortal of ordinary mould lies in his evident sincerity. 
The most convincing evidence of his honesty of pur- 
pose, his self-confidence, and his earnest devotion, is 
furnished bv the rank and character of his first dis- 
ciples, and the reverence with which his teachings were 
received. The early proselytes of all other religions 
of which history makes mention were ignorant and 
uneducated, destitute of worldly possessions, with- 
out pride of ancestry or title to public consideration. 
Their ungrammatical harangues were often heard 
with derision; their credulity excited the contempt 
of the philosopher and of the hostile priesthood alike. 
It was even made a subject of reproach to the first 
Christians an accusation, however, never conclu- 
sively proved that their numbers were largely re- 
cruited from the criminals, the idlers, and the beggars 
of the Empire. The origin of modern sects has in- 
variably been obscure, and their proselytes of humble 
rank and servile occupation. Not so, however, with 
the early followers of Mohammed. They were mem- 
bers of the proud and exclusive aristocracy of Arabia. 
Their lineage could be traced, in an unbroken line, for 
more than six hundred years. Their hereditary office 
of custodians of the shrine venerated by every tribe 
of the Peninsula gave them immense prestige among 
their countrymen. Their interest in the preservation 

94 History of the 

of the national worship would naturally prejudice 
them against innovations which must inevitably dimin- 
ish their power and curtail their emoluments. Their 
wealth was not inferior to their illustrious descent and 
their political and religious influence. Some of them 
were included among the most opulent citizens of 
Mecca. The Jewish apostates of Medina possessed 
the proverbial thrift and intelligence of their race. 
In that Hebrew colony none stood higher in public 
estimation than they. The success of Islam demon- 
strated beyond dispute the superiority of its original 
proselytes in the arts of statesmanship no less than in 
the science of war. Great talents were required to 
encounter successfully the exigencies which attended 
its institution, and which afterwards repeatedly men- 
aced its permanence. The high character of such dis- 
ciples is a positive indication of the purity of their 
motives and the sincerity of their belief. Men are not 
liable to be readily imposed upon by claims to divine 
inspiration asserted by their intimate associates. Dis- 
tance and mystery are far more propitious to the 
success of a religious teacher than the familiarity 
which results from close acquaintance and diurnal 
scrutiny. It is a common error to attribute the spread 
of Mohammedanism entirely to the agency of force. 
Military success was undoubtedly a powerful factor 
in the accomplishment of its destiny. The sword was 
peculiarly esteemed in Arabia. The steel of which 
it was composed was, in a country where no iron was 
produced, the most valuable of metals. The prodig- 
ious nomenclature by which that weapon was distin- 
guished was an indication of its national importance, 
and of the potency of its effects entertained by those 
by whom it was wielded. It represented the martial 
spirit of the Arab, the ruling incentive of his life, 
the inspiration of his predatory exploits, the glory 
of a long succession of cherished traditions. A 

Moorish Empire in Europe 95 

mystic significance attached to it, which, in time, 
assumed a religious character, and rendered its em- 
ployment, according to popular belief, acceptable to 
the omnipotent and invisible Deity of Arabia. These 
ideas descended to the Moslems, and promoted, in no 
small degree, their energy and their enthusiasm. But 
force alone could never have enabled a tumultuous 
horde of barbarians, unaccustomed to concerted 
action and impatient of the restraints of military 
discipline, to overwhelm three great empires in less 
than a century. The policy of Islam was at first more 
conciliatory than menacing. It preferred to inculcate 
its principles by argument rather than to provoke 
opposition by invective. It disclaimed the invention 
of new dogmas, but labored to reconcile its tenets 
with those of its venerated predecessors. It dis- 
couraged proselytism by violence. Whatever it could 
not abolish or modify, it adopted; whatever it could 
not appropriate, it ruthlessly destroyed. National 
decrepitude; the universal decay of religious belief; 
the dexterous adaptation of alleged prophecy; the 
hopeless condition of the devout, terrified by the 
fierce animosity of contending sects; the impossi- 
bility of ascertaining the correctness of the Gospel 
amidst the confusion of doctrines and the multiplicity 
of versions; the political disorders resulting from 
barbarian ascendency; the abrogation of the offen- 
sive distinctions of caste; the mysterious fascination 
which attends the unknown; the prospect of wealth, 
renown, and empire held out to aspiring genius; the 
guaranty of independence of thought and immunity 
from persecution grouped under the banner of Mo- 
hammed the disorganized and exhausted nations of 
the mediaeval world. The tenor of his life until the 
first revelation was that of a man of unimpeachable 
morality. Already in his youth he had been distin- 
guished by the significant appellation of The Faith- 

96 History of the 

ful. His marital relations until after the death of 
Khadijah were without reproach; a fact conceded 
by his most implacable enemies. A profound knowl- 
edge of human nature, an appreciation of the spirit- 
ual requirements of his countrymen upon whose 
minds the doctrines of Zoroaster and of Christ had 
made no permanent impression enabled him to fab- 
ricate a system demonstrated by experience to be 
admirably fitted to the taste, the genius, and the 
superstition of the Oriental. Without a supreme 
conviction of the genuineness of his mission he could 
never have impressed his teachings upon the minds of 
the satirical and incredulous Arabs, or have secured 
proselytes among his kindred, to whom his daily in- 
tercourse would have soon revealed sentiments and 
conduct wholly inconsistent with his pretensions as a 
medium of divine authority. And yet, with all the 
sincerity of his convictions, he thoroughly distrusted 
himself. He repeatedly affirmed that he was but a 
man, a preacher, a reformer, whose mission was the 
regeneration and the happiness of mankind. In 
spite of his realistic descriptions of heaven and hell, 
he declared that he was ignorant of what was in store 
for the soul after death. The spirit which consoli- 
dated a hundred vagrant tribes distracted by the feuds 
of centuries, deaf to offers of compromise and peace, 
so jealous of every infringement of their personal 
liberty that they resented even the benignant and 
patriarchal rule of their chieftains, into a powerful 
empire; which noted the glaring absurdities of con- 
temporaneous creeds, and offered in their stead an 
idea of the Deity so simple, and yet so comprehensive, 
that no mind, however bigoted, could conscientiously 
reject it; which moulded into an harmonious system 
the jarring interests of antagonistic races, and, by its 
maxims of toleration, conciliated those sectaries who 
denied the authenticity of its principles, and refused 

Moorish Empire in Europe 97 

compliance with its ceremonial; which, in consonance 
with ideas of policy far in advance of the time, united 
the functions of ruler and priest without apparently 
giving undue prominence to either; which founded a 
religion that has endured for nearly thirteen centuries, 
and has claimed the devoted allegiance of a thousand 
million men, can hardly with propriety be said to 
have been created by the irrational and selfish impulses 
of insanity or imposture. Rather may these results 
be designated the operations of a master-mind actu- 
ated by a lofty ambition; a mind capable of solving 
the most perplexing questions of statecraft, and en- 
dowed with a degree of political wisdom not often 
exhibited by even those few whom the voice of his- 
tory has invested with the proud title of artificers of 

Much has been written and spoken by persons 
having important material interests to subserve, 
possessing limited knowledge of the subject, and 
with little inclination to use even that knowledge 
with impartiality, concerning the physical weakness 
which, at irregular intervals, affected the Prophet. 
It has already been alluded to as a form of muscular 
hysteria, an affection peculiar to delicate, nervous 
organizations, whose attacks are generally evoked 
by sudden and intense cerebral excitement, and a 
physiological phenomenon belonging to the same 
class as somnambulism and catalepsy. It is but tem- 
porary in its effects; and while its symptoms are not 
dissimilar to those of the " falling sickness" of the 
Romans, the patient does not lose consciousness, and 
neither the origin nor the continuance of the disease 
implies even a temporary impairment of the mental 
faculties. In view of the thorough investigations of 
medical scholars, the generally received opinion, fos- 
tered by ignorance and religious prejudice, may be 
pronounced erroneous ; even if the efforts of enlight- 

Vol. I. 7 

98 History of the 

ened historical criticism had not already established 
beyond contradiction that to the Byzantines, who 
enjoyed a world-wide reputation for accomplished 
mendacity, is to be attributed the popular fable of 
the epilepsy of Mohammed. 

In personal appearance, Mohammed did not differ 
from his countrymen of gentle blood. His head was 
large, his chest well developed, his limbs slender but 
sinewy, and his whole frame capable of the exertion 
of enormous strength. A heavy beard reached half- 
way to his girdle, and his coal-black locks, slightly 
curling, fell down upon his shoulders. He had the 
purely Semitic cast of features ; the dark eyes gleam- 
ing with half -hidden fire, the thin aquiline nose, the 
brown complexion, and teeth of dazzling whiteness. 
While his expressive physiognomy indicated the pos- 
session of a high order of mental power, the sensual, 
as is often the case with men of extraordinary genius, 
was visible to an abnormal degree side by side with 
the intellectual. His gait was rapid and his move- 
ments energetic; his manners quiet, but pleasing: 
his address affable; while his commanding presence, 
and his proficiency in all the winning but superficial 
arts of the courtier, heightened by his calm and im- 
pressive demeanor, displayed to advantage the graces 
and charms of his eloquence. Though habitually 
grave and taciturn, he was easy of access to the vilest 
outcast ; and it was said of him that he always left his 
hand in that of an acquaintance until the latter had 
withdrawn his own. His liberality was boundless, and 
often subjected his household to serious inconveni- 
ence; his gentle disposition is shown by his fondness 
for children, and his humanity by the repeated in- 
junctions of the Koran relating to the treatment of 
animals. The degrading passion of avarice had no 
part in his nature ; with immense treasures at his com- 
mand, his establishment was inferior to those of his 

Moorish Empire in Europe 99 

followers, and the greater part of his income he be- 
stowed upon the poor. His tastes were always simple 
and unpretending ; and even after he had been raised 
to sovereign power he retained the frugal habits of 
patriarchal life; his house was but a hut of sun-dried 
bricks and palm branches, to which a leathern curtain 
served as a door. So humble was he in everything 
that did not concern the dignity of his prophetic office, 
that he even mended his own sandals, cared for his 
goats and camels, and at times aided his wives in the 
performance of their domestic duties. Ever constant 
in friendship, he early secured, and preserved until 
death, the attachment of those who were associated 
with him, whether equals or inferiors, both of whom 
he treated with the utmost consideration. Such was 
his self-command and perfect control of his passions 
that he never struck an enemy save in the heat of 
battle, scolded a servant, or punished a slave. So far 
from assuming supernatural powers, he absolutely 
disclaimed their possession, and no public teacher has 
ever displayed less self-assurance and dogmatism. As 
a ruler and a politician, his measures were taken with 
tact and prudence; as a commander, he displayed in 
the field considerable military capacity; and it is un- 
disputed that flagrant disobedience of his orders was 
the cause of his early reverses. He had the strictest 
ideas of the responsibilities that pertain to the admin- 
istration of justice; the poorest suitor, however trifling 
his cause, never failed of a hearing ; and he threatened 
with the severest penalties those who refused the 
settlement of their pecuniary obligations. While in- 
culcating the crowning merit of good works, he recom- 
mended their concealment, and resolutely discounte- 
nanced all pharisaical display of pious affectation or 
pretended virtue. He was slow to resent an injury 
and quick to pardon an offender, a signal mark of 
cowardice in the opinion of the Arab ; timely submis- 

100 History of the 

sion and an appeal to his generosity rarely failed to 
disarm his short-lived hostility ; and those who began 
by being his most implacable enemies ended by be- 
coming his loyal and devoted champions. His mag- 
nanimity and the profound knowledge of the human 
heart which stamped him as a leader of men were 
evidenced by his noble conduct and princely liberality 
to the Koreish after the conquest of Mecca. In a 
word, the brighter side of the character of Moham- 
med needs no higher eulogy than is revealed by the 
definition which he has left us of charity, a virtue 
which he never ceased to practise: ' Every good act 
is charity; your smiling in your brother's face, your 
putting a wanderer in the right way, your giving 
water to the thirsty, your exhortation to another to 
do right, is charity. A man's true wealth hereafter 
is the good he hath done in this world to his fellow- 
men. When he dies, people will inquire, ' What prop- 
erty hath he left behind him?' But the angels will 
ask, ' What good deeds hath he sent before him?' 

With all the greatness of Mohammed there was 
mingled not a little of the frailty incident to human 
nature, a considerable portion of which, however, is 
to be credited to his want of education and to the 
superstitious prejudices of the age in which he lived. 
He abhorred darkness, and feared to be left alone 
without a light; he cried like a child under the 
slightest physical suffering; he was an implicit be- 
liever in the virtues of even numbers, and lived in 
constant apprehension of sorcery; while the evil-eye 
was to him, as to the most ignorant of his country- 
men, a calamitous and dreaded reality. His conduct 
was frequently regulated by dreams and omens ; some 
of the latter being not less puerile than those evoked 
by the arts of divination which he so resolutely con- 
demned. He was guilty of petty affectations and 
exhibitions of weakness scarcely to be expected in 

Moorish Empire in Europe 101 

one of his genius and position; he dyed his hair and 
stained his hands with henna, and displayed an 
amusing self -consciousness and vanity when in the 
presence of any of the female sex. He was inordi- 
nately jealous, and to this failing, for which history 
has admitted that at times he had sufficient cause, is 
to be attributed the seraglio, the veil, the escort of 
eunuchs, and the seclusion of women. His polyg- 
amous connections, which have elicited the censure 
of European casuists and theologians, were, in the 
main, measures adopted for political effect; for by 
these matrimonial alliances he cemented his influence 
and extended his power. While it would be vain to 
deny his amorous susceptibilities, for we have his own 
testimony that of all things he loved women and 
perfumes, it must be remembered that he controlled 
his passions until after middle life ; and it is certainly 
less worthy of remark that he should have permitted 
himself the indulgence of a harem, than that, with 
his opportunities, he did not abandon himself to un- 
bridled and vicious indulgence. The moral aspect of 
polygamy, moreover, seems to vary with the locality, 
and to be after all only a question of latitude. In 
the scorching heat of the torrid zone, which causes 
no appreciable deterioration in man's virility and 
endurance, woman matures when but a child in years, 
and is old and wrinkled long before her partner has 
reached the prime of life. Again, as is well known, 
the passions of Orientals are far stronger than those 
of Western nations, bearing to each other a ratio 
approximating to that of the warm-blooded mam- 
malia to the sluggish reptilia, the voluptuous tem- 
perament of the Arabs is repeatedly mentioned by 
classic writers, and under the tropics the imperious 
demands of nature may not be disdained or neglected 
save in the cavern of the starving and emaciated 
anchorite. The civil institutions of the East have 

102 History of the 

from time immemorial legalized the custom of 
polygamous marriage, and the words monogamist and 
Oriental are antithetical, and imply a contradiction in 
terms. Though distinguished ethnologists maintain 
with considerable acumen that polyandry is one of 
the first phases of social existence, their inferences are 
for the most part merely speculative; for history 
seldom, if ever, has recorded such alliances, and this 
apparently anomalous condition of family life is now 
found only in Thibet and Hindustan. The sacred 
books of the dominant religions of the world, Buddh- 
ist, Jewish, Christian, and Mohammedan, all of 
which are of Asiatic origin, either openly sanction 
polygamy or sedulously refrain from denouncing 
it. Every one knows that it is universal in China and 
India; the Zendavesta recognizes it; the student of 
history and legend need not be reminded of its preva- 
lence among the Children of Israel; and the law of 
Islam permits its practice under certain wise and 
equitable restrictions. The Bible, from beginning to 
end, has not a single word to offer in condemnation 
of it; indeed, in the days of the patriarchs, prophets, 
and apostles, its utility in the lands where it prevailed 
appears to have been unquestioned. Although our 
ideas of social and domestic happiness do not tolerate 
this custom, which the rigor of our climate renders 
unnecessary and, in a measure, revolting; still, we 
should not attempt to measure by our arbitrary 
standard of propriety the habits of nations formed 
under far different circumstances, and satisfied with 
institutions consecrated by the experience of a hun- 
dred and fifty generations; nor can we, with justice, 
subject to our rigid canons of theological and political 
ethics the sentiments and actions of an illiterate man, 
bred among semi-barbarians, and who died nearly 
thirteen hundred years ago. While Mohammed 
shared with his countrymen all their cynical distrust 

Moorish Empire in Europe 103 

of the feminine character, he is the only lawgiver 
claiming divine inspiration who has ever made any 
effort to improve the condition of women by restrict- 
ing polygamy, and by the imposition of regulations 
which admit of no evasion without a forfeiture of 
legal rights. The beneficial effects of these ordi- 
nances in placing restraints upon divorce, in securing 
to widows immunity from destitution, and in pre- 
venting female infanticide, contribute of themselves 
no inconsiderable addition to the prestige of his name. 
Far more serious than superstitious weakness, the 
foibles of vanity, or predilection for women, are other 
accusations which have been brought against the 
Prophet. The employment of bravos and the assas- 
sination of prisoners, which, if not ordered, are said 
to have been at least connived at and rewarded by him, 
are ineffaceable stains upon his character ; and it must 
be confessed that the evidence tending to establish the 
commission of these sanguinary deeds is but too well 
founded. They only indicate, however, that, while 
Mohammed was far in advance of his age, the passion 
for blood, esteemed the cardinal virtue of an Arab, 
had not been eradicated from his breast after a life 
devoted to prayer, alms-giving, and benevolence. The 
invocation of divine authority in the Koran to jus- 
tify deeds of which even the lax morality of the age 
disapproved, while the exigencies of the occasion 
might have to some extent excused them, is also, 
under any circumstances, extremely discreditable. 
The glory of Mohammed consists in the fact that 
he fully realized the moral and political necessities 
of his people, and opened for them a career of un- 
precedented brilliancy; that his efforts for their sub- 
stantial improvement, reacting, in turn, upon other 
nations utterly foreign to the Arab blood and lan- 
guage, will be felt to the end of time ; that he abolished 
many cruel and degrading customs; that he elevated 

104 History of the 

and dignified the character of all who received his 
teachings, and left devout worshippers of a single 
God those whom he had found polytheists and idol- 

The Koran is believed by Mussulmans to have been 
delivered by the Almighty, through the angel Gabriel, 
to Mohammed, who communicated it orally to his 
companions as it was revealed, whence is derived its 
name, " Recitation." Having thus a divine origin, 
it is considered sacrilegious by the Moslem Pharisees 
to question the authenticity or propriety of any of its 
statements, or to criticise its manifold contradictions, 
repetitions, and absurdities. As knowledge of writing 
was at that time a rare accomplishment in Arabia, 
it being asserted by many scholars that Mohammed 
himself never acquired it, only scattered portions of 
the revelation were inscribed upon such materials as 
fragments of leather, stones, palm-leaves, and the 
shoulder-blades of sheep, and the remaining verses 
and Suras, as they fell from the lips of the Prophet, 
were impressed upon the marvellously retentive mem- 
ories of his auditors. In the course of events many 
of the latter were killed in battle, and the Khalif Abu- 
Bekr, fearing the loss of the sacred texts, took meas- 
ures to collect and preserve them in a permanent form. 
When Othman was raised to the Khalif ate, many dif- 
ferent readings had already arisen from this manu- 
script; and innumerable editions, each claiming su- 
periority and producing endless controversy and 
scandal, were distributed throughout his dominions. 
To secure uniformity, he caused copies of the first 
edition to be made, and all others not agreeing with 
the latter were destroyed; so that the work as pub- 
lished under the auspices of Othman is the Koran as 
we possess it, the spiritual guide of all true Moslems. 
It is not voluminous, containing only a little more than 
half as much matter as the New Testament, and is 

Moorish Empire in Europe 105 

composed of one hundred and fourteen Suras, or 
chapters, grouped together apparently without any 
attention to rational connection or chronological order, 
and wherein the same sentiments are expressed and 
the same legends are repeated time and again. An 
attentive perusal of a translation of this book is an 
arduous task, and even in the original it is an under- 
taking well calculated to exhaust the patience and 
application of any one but a Mussulman theologian 
or saint. The compiler began with the longest chap- 
ters and ended with the shortest ones, the reverse order 
in which they were revealed, which suggests the hy- 
pothesis that the Koran may have been at first written 
in some language other than Arabic, and in which the 
characters were read from left to right. It is also 
suspected, upon plausible grounds, that the sacred 
book has suffer ed interpolations and omissions made 
in the interest of the successful faction to which 
Othman belonged; a theory which has gained cre- 
dence from the well-known corruption of the Scrip- 
tures by the Jews. Be this as it may, no means of 
comparison existing, as in the case of the different 
versions of the Bible, the conclusions of the critic 
must necessarily be drawn from the internal evidence 
afforded by the text itself; a mode of examination 
at best but unreliable and unsatisfactory. Moslems 
love to cite the Koran as the one miracle of Moham- 
med, on account of its purity of language and per- 
fection of style; leaving out of consideration its 
chaotic condition, its anachronisms, and the desultory, 
monotonous, and disconnected rhapsodies with which 
it abounds. Having no diacritical points to indicate 
the vowels, its meaning is often ambiguous, and seven 
different readings exist, all of which are admitted by 
theologians to be correct. Though written in the dia- 
lect of Mecca, the most polished of the Arabic tongue, 
it contains, nevertheless, many grammatical errors; 

106 History of the 

probably traceable to the illiterate persons from whose 
recollection was obtained much of the first compila- 
tion, and whose words, taken down verbatim, would 
obviously require correction, which the scribe natu- 
rally hesitated to make through fear of sacrilege. In 
view of the suspicion not unjustly attaching to the 
motives of those who revised it, and which, to a certain 
extent, affects its authenticity as a whole, it is scarcely 
proper to subject the volume to searching and invidi- 
ous criticism. Nor is it creditable to attribute to the 
teachings of Mohammed doctrines adopted by subse- 
quent Moslem theologians which he would probably 
have been the first to condemn. The bulk of the 
Koran is composed of Jewish and Christian legends; 
rules for the ceremonial of Islam; excuses for the 
conduct of the Prophet when the indignation and sus- 
picious temper of his followers threatened his ascend- 
ency; the foundation of a code of law, and a large 
number of moral precepts breathing a spirit of en- 
lightened piety, impartial justice, and self-abnega- 
tion, unsurpassed by any collection of maxims ever 
offered for the guidance of mankind. The popular 
anthropomorphic idea of the Deity is rejected, all His 
physical attributes being now regarded as figurative; 
triads are classed with idols as manifestations of poly- 
theism; and the exalted conception of God without 
equal or rival is perpetually impressed upon the mind 
of the reader in phrases glowing with the fire of re- 
ligious zeal and impassioned eloquence. The poetic 
talent of the untutored Arab appears in all its won- 
derful perfection in the Koran, and yet Mohammed 
did not acknowledge his possession of this faculty, 
and persistently discouraged its exercise as a reminis- 
cence of Paganism. Throughout the entire volume no 
assumption is made of divine powers by the Prophet ; 
the ability to work miracles is especially repudiated by 
him as unnecessary for religious conviction, and is 

Moorish Empire in Europe 107 

mentioned as an unavailing and unprofitable accom- 
plishment of his inspired predecessors. The prevalent 
idea that a blind fatalism is inculcated in the pages of 
the Koran is a fallacy. The entire substance of its 
teachings is contrary to this doctrine, and would be 
worthless if belief in it were enjoined; passages con- 
stantly occur admitting the exercise of the utmost 
freedom of will, and thoroughly inconsistent with 
any theory depending upon the foreordained destiny 
of man. The fact is that the misapprehension of 
the meaning of Islam absolute resignation to the 
will of God is responsible for this perverted prin- 
ciple, which, like the crescent now universally adopted 
as a Moslem religious symbol, is an invention of the 
Turks, and was absolutely unknown as such to the 
early followers of Mohammed. 

To the Kaaba, whose deities had received the pious 
homage of so many centuries, an additional impor- 
tance was communicated by its adoption as the central 
point of Mussulman worship. In time it became in- 
vested with a mystical character resembling the per- 
sonification of a female principle of faith, which, while 
anomalous in the practice of Islam, is so familiar to 
the constitution of almost all religions. A black 
covering representing a veil, and renewed each year 
with impressive ceremonies, screened the sacred build- 
ing from the public gaze. A guard of eunuchs, fifty 
in number, the dignity and importance of whose office, 
as custodians of the shrine, entitled them to the super- 
stitious reverence of the devout, were in constant 
attendance. In these singular regulations, which 
suggest both the adoration of the Virgin and the 
restraints of the harem, can be detected an expres- 
sion of the innate and irrepressible desire of mankind 
for a material representation of feminine divinity. 

The licentious character alleged to belong to the 
Mohammedan paradise has provoked much unreason- 

108 History of the 

able vituperation from those who are unfamiliar with 
the literary peculiarities and highly imaginative tem- 
perament of the people of the East. The mind of 
the Oriental has ever delighted to wander in the mystic 
realm of parable and allegory. His sacred books, 
from the Zendavesta to the Koran, abound with ex- 
amples of this method of impressing important truths, 
and even the lighter productions destined to beguile 
his leisure are not free from it. No educated Mussul- 
man believes, no candid and well-informed Orientalist 
thinks, that the famous houris, with their unfading 
charms, their graceful presence, their intoxicating 
embraces, and their peculiar physical endowments, 
are anything more than the shadowy personages of 
allegorical imagery. Allusion is made to them in 
terms of vague and mysterious import susceptible of 
various construction; and, even if we should admit 
the belief in their actual existence, and adopt a literal 
interpretation of the verses relative to this recompense 
of the blest, the descriptions of their attractions are 
not comparable in minuteness of detail and carnal 
suggestiveness to the voluptuous inspirations of the 
Song of Solomon, which no reader, however credu- 
lous, will venture to construe otherwise than as an 
allegory. In the romantic and highly embellished 
visions of the Koran, uncultivated Moslems, imbued 
with the imaginative credulity of the East, have been 
only too ready to accept metaphor and parable for 
absolute fact. 

The other pleasures to be found in heaven are con- 
nected with what would be most precious and refresh- 
ing to the poor and thirsty dwellers in the Desert, the 
domes of pearl; the dust of musk; the pebbles of 
hyacinth and emerald; the sumptuous banquets; the 
robes of satin and gold ; the exhilarating but harmless 
draughts of generous wine; the forests of stately 
palms; the everlasting verdure; the luscious fruits; 

Moorish Empire in Europe 109 

the sparkling fountains; the shady gardens watered 
by cool and limpid streams. It was not without reason 
that green became the distinctive color of the returned 
pilgrim, a color selected by the Prophet as emblematic 
of the fields and groves of Paradise. 

Mohammed, having derived his idea of heaven in- 
directly from the Chaldean accounts of the Garden of 
Eden, and that of the devil from the dualism of Per- 
sian mythology, borrowed the name and description 
of the place of torment from the Jews, who denomi- 
nated hell Ge-Hinnom, literally, the ' ' Vale of Hin- 
nom," from a fertile and pleasant valley near Jeru- 
salem, which, however, was rendered execrable in 
spite of its attractions, on account of its being the 
home of the relentless Moloch, upon whose altar was 
periodically immolated the flower of the Hebrew 
youth. The rabbinical division into seven stages, 
entered by as many gates, and each set apart for a 
different degree of punishment, is adopted without 
sensible alteration. If reference to Paradise is seldom 
made in the Koran, the details of the tortures of the 
damned are, on the other hand, remarkable for their 
vividness and frequency, and, conceived by the flights 
of an unbridled imagination, are delineated with all 
the earnestness of a mind convinced of their fearful 

The Koran, like the Zendavesta, which enjoins the 
tilling of the soil as an indispensable religious duty, 
recommends the practice of agricultural pursuits, the 
extension of commerce, and the foundation and de- 
velopment of every species of manufacturing in- 
dustry. The encouragement of these occupations, by 
representing them as praiseworthy and agreeable to 
God, with a view to their general adoption by a people 
who had hitherto considered trade and manual labor 
as contemptible, was naturally a task of considerable 
difficulty. But expectations of pecuniary advantage, 

110 History of the 

joined to the prospect of individual distinction and 
national glory, speedily removed this prejudice; espe- 
cially in a society which contained no privileged 
classes, and recognized none of the artificial and de- 
pressing obligations of feudalism. In consequence of 
this wise recommendation, the restrictions of caste 
which had never prevailed in Arabia to the extent 
common to the kingdoms of Asia, probably because 
it possessed no hierarchy and no organized system of 
government were eradicated; all employments of 
an honorable character were placed upon an equal 
footing; and the merchant and the artisan each en- 
joyed a degree of dignity, popular esteem, and social 
importance proportionate to his talents and success. 

Although the Koran has been made the subject of 
interminable commentaries, numbering forty thou- 
sand as near as can be estimated, and isolated pre- 
cepts have been expanded and distorted for the 
purpose of forming an elaborate system of jurispru- 
dence, it was never intended as a general text-book of 
law. The few maxims upon this subject which it con- 
tains were borrowed partly from the Hebrews, but 
chiefly from the sanguinary code of the early Ara- 
bians. Some, in addition to those above mentioned, 
grew out of the requirements of particular cases ; the 
majority of them, however, relate to the domestic 
difficulties of the Prophet and to the regulation of 
the harem. Notwithstanding the latter preferably 
adopted the Koran as the basis of his legal decisions 
whenever it was practicable, it is a well-known fact 
that after his death the collections of the Sunnah 
furnished a standard of broader application, and of 
scarcely less authoritative character, in the settlement 
of the principles of Mohammedan law. 

The Koran commands relief of the oppressed, pro- 
tection of the defenceless, mercy to the orphan, and 
kindness to animals. It enjoins the strict perform- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 111 

ance of engagements, even though entered into with 
members of a hostile creed; in humiliating contrast 
with the policy of Catholic Rome, whose children were 
perpetually absolved from the observance of contracts 
concluded with infidels. It denounces awful penalties 
against the murderer and the suicide. In its pages the 
profound deference that usually attaches to aristo- 
cratic birth and distinguished station is ignored ; titled 
insolence is not permitted to assert superiority over 
the unpretending worshipper, and the monarch and 
the beggar meet as brethren before the throne of 
Almighty God. The right of private judgment is 
repeatedly and authoritatively declared to be the 
privilege of every believer; the humblest Moslem 
may place his own interpretation on the texts of the 
alleged revelation ; and his conception of their mean- 
ing and application is entirely independent of the 
edicts of priests or the suspicious decisions of synods 
and councils. 

Abstinence from swine's flesh and from the blood 
of all animals is enforced through hygienic considera- 
tions arising from experience of the injurious effects 
of such food in tropical climates ; and the requirement 
of personal cleanliness by frequent and regular lustra- 
tion has its origin in the same vigilant solicitude for 
the public welfare. 

A marked difference of ideas and phraseology is to 
be discerned in the Suras delivered at Mecca and 
Medina respectively; the former being more poetic, 
inspiring, and defiant than the latter. As Moham- 
med consolidated his power, the text of the Koran 
evinced more of the calmness and dignity of the ruler 
than of the fire of the enthusiast. The earnest desire 
to make converts of the Jews is disclosed by the 
appeal to a common ancestry, and by the politic in- 
corporation of Talmudic legends into the holy book 
which was to replace the Bible; while the signal fail- 

112 History of the 

lire to secure this result is foreshadowed by threats 
of divine wrath soon to be realized by slavery, exile, 
and death. Though Arabia was full of infidels, and 
even a large proportion of the idolaters observed the 
rites of their religion merely as a matter of form and 
fashion, and were deeply infected with skepticism, it 
is singular that Mohammed, in his denunciations of 
hypocrisy and idolatry, did not utter a word in con- 
demnation of atheistical ideas. The book, moreover, 
which was to be the guide of a sect whose adherents 
improved algebra, discovered chemical analysis, and 
brought agriculture to an unprecedented degree of 
perfection, contains no science, and only the most 
rudimentary notions of civil government. According 
to the Koran, the sun sets in a morass of black mud; 
water is the element whence all life is derived; and 
the conceptions of natural phenomena which are 
gravely set forth in its pages are only worthy of the 
vagrant fancies of children and barbarians. 

Among Orientals the Koran is invariably published 
in Arabic, the sacred language of the Mussulmans, 
who are instructed in it during childhood, just as or- 
thodox Jews are early familiarized with the Hebrew 
tongue. It is not known through the medium of 
translation in Mohammedan countries unless when 
the latter is interlined with the original; so that the 
reader, by comparing the different texts, may have 
an opportunity to judge of the qualifications and 
accuracy of the translator. Great luxury is usually 
exhibited in the embellishment of the sacred volume. 
Its leaves are blue or purple, odorous with costly per- 
fumes, its letters of gold. Its covers are often 
studded with jewels. Amidst its interwoven ara- 
besques the name of God appears, repeated thou- 
sands of times. No Mussulman handles it without 
every demonstration of reverence. It almost always 
bears upon the side an admonition not to touch it 

Moorish Empire in Europe 113 

with unclean hands; an unnecessary precaution for 
the devout, whose respect for its contents is indeed 
not unreasonable, as we may perceive from a single 
invocation taken at random, and not conspicuous 
among the expressions of sublime piety to be found 
upon almost every page: "Architect of the heaven 
and the earth, thou art my support in this world and 
the next. Cause me to die faithful to the law. In- 
troduce me into the assembly of the just." 

Islam means substantially the Religion of Peace. 
From this verbal form are derived the terms Mussul- 
man and Moslem, indicating all who are submissive 
to the will of God. The commonly adopted appel- 
lation Mohammedan is not countenanced by followers 
of the Prophet, and is of European origin. The 
Islamitic confession of faith is the simplest known 
to any creed; it merely involves the repetition of the 
formula, ' ' There is no God but God, and Moham- 
med is his Apostle." By the acceptance and utter- 
ance of this phrase, any one may become a Mussul- 
man; although the observance of the practical duties 
of prayer, fasting, alms-giving, and pilgrimage, 
urged with such eloquence in the Koran, are regarded 
as obligatory upon all professing that religion. Mos- 
lems pray five, times daily, and before each prayer 
an ablution must be performed, as a token that the 
suppliant has cleansed his heart of every vestige of 
insincerity and impure desire. The Pagan Arabs, as 
often as they addressed their supplications to their 
ruling divinity, turned their faces to the rising sun, 
and when Mohammed instituted his form of prayer, 
he selected as the objective point, or Kiblah, the 
temple of Jerusalem, with the design of attracting 
the Jews; but after the conversion of the latter was 
seen to be impracticable, and no further reason for 
conciliation existed, the Kaaba was substituted; and 
thenceforth the holy shrine of Mecca became the Kib- 

Vol. I. 8 

114 History of the 

lah of the Moslem faith. During the month of Ra- 
madhan set apart because in it was communicated 
the first revelation a fast is enjoined throughout the 
domain of Islam, and abstinence from food and drink 
is required from sunrise to sunset; an intolerable 
hardship in torrid lands, where the month often falls 
in summer on account of the constantly retrograding 
divisions of the lunar year. 

The unostentatious bestowal of alms was a duty 
whose importance Mohammed constantly impressed 
upon his followers as a cardinal virtue; the Moslem 
is taxed to the tenth of his income for the benefit of 
the poor ; and if his wealth has been increased through 
injustice or dishonesty, the penalty of a double con- 
tribution is exacted. Pilgrimage, the last of the re- 
ligious obligations of Islamism, whenever possible, 
should be performed in person; its observance con- 
fers a life-long distinction, and its neglect implies 
a deplorable want of energy in the believer that may 
compromise his happiness hereafter. 

When the pilgrim enters the sacred territory, 
which extends for several miles in every direction 
from Mecca, he lays aside his clothes, performs com- 
plete ablution, and dons the Ihram, or Garment of 
Holiness, which is composed of two^long, seamless 
pieces of cotton cloth, one to be wrapped about the 
waist, and the other to be adjusted upon the upper 
part of the body so as to leave the right shoulder bare. 
All covering for the head is prohibited; a severe 
restriction under the blazing sun of the Hedjaz. He 
now approaches the Kaaba, kisses the Black Stone, 
and makes the circuit of the edifice seven times, re- 
peating certain prayers prescribed for the occasion. 
Next he drinks of the waters of the holy well Zemzem, 
which tradition asserts burst forth spontaneously at 
the feet of Hagar when she and Ishmael were about 
to perish of thirst in the wilderness. Near at hand is 

Moorish Empire in Europe 115 

the Station of Abraham, a large stone upon which 
the Patriarch is supposed to have stood when he built 
the Kaaba, whither the pilgrim must now resort and 
perform his devotions. Finally, he leaves the pre- 
cincts of the shrine and runs seven times between 
Safa and Merwa, two elevations beyond the walls of 
the mosque; a ceremony commemorative of the de- 
spair of Hagar in her search for water to sustain the 
life of her suffering child before the fountains of 
Zemzem were miraculously opened. Upon the eighth 
day of the Pilgrimage, a mighty host, amounting not 
infrequently to the number of seventy-five thousand 
souls, with twenty-five thousand camels and count- 
less other animals for sacrifice, sets out for Mount 
Arafat, ten miles distant, from whose summit a ser- 
mon is preached by the chief imam of the Mosque of 
Mecca. The sermon concluded, all hurry amidst 
great confusion to the Valley of Mina, where each 
pilgrim should cast seven pebbles at three pillars 
representing the devil, in commemoration of an inci- 
dent in the life of Abraham. The animals, sheep and 
camels, are next slaughtered, a ceremony symbolical 
of the sacrifice by the patriarch, whose victim, how- 
ever, is stated by Arabian tradition to have been Ish- 
mael instead of Isaac, and the pilgrims are then at 
liberty to resume their ordinary garments, shave their 
heads, trim their beards, and pare their nails ; acts con- 
sidered illegal before the various rites of the Pilgrim- 
age have been performed according to the prescribed 

The visit to the Prophet's tomb at Medina is not 
compulsory, but is indispensable to secure the honor- 
able title of Hadj, which confers the privilege of 
wearing a green turban, and excites the perpetual 
envy of those unfortunates whose physical incapacity 
or limited financial circumstances will not permit a 
journey to the Holy Cities of Arabia. 

116 History of the 

' Show me a people's God," said Euripides, " and 
I will tell you that people's history." To the history 
of Islam is this significant remark especially appro- 
priate. The Moslem conception of the Deity is one 
of unapproachable grandeur and sublimity. While 
placed immeasurably above His creatures, their praise 
and their petitions are always tendered Him without 
the officious intervention of a privileged caste, and 
wherever the hour of prayer may find the worshipper, 
whether in the retirement of his home, in the noisy 
bazaar, upon the deck of a vessel in mid-ocean, or 
amidst the awful stillness and solitude of the Desert. 

The practical value and consequent importance of 
a religion consist not so much by whom or under what 
circumstances it is alleged to have been founded, but 
in what it has effected for the happiness and perma- 
nent improvement of humanity. 

Through the enthusiasm inspired by its exalted 
ideas of Almighty power, Islam extirpated idolatry 
so thoroughly, that in the second generation after it 
was promulgated men feared even to mention the 
names of the false gods of their fathers. It made 
cannibalism detestable, and swept away human sacri- 
fices, with which the Arabs had been familiar for a 
period whose commencement was long anterior to the 
days of Abraham. It softened the asperities of war- 
fare; extended to the vanquished the advantages of 
instant liberty and prospective distinction, upon the 
sole condition of conversion ; it protected the unfortu- 
nate captive from violence, and abolished the shock- 
ing practice of mutilation of the dead. Its hostility 
to the spirit of feudalism insured the protection and 
freedom of every degree and profession of mankind. 
It elevated the position of woman; repressed the un- 
blushing licentiousness prevalent in the Age of Igno- 
rance ; formulated an equitable law of divorce, where 
separation had been previously a matter of caprice; 

Moorish Empire in Europe 117 

and shielded the wife from the cruelty, avarice, and 
injustice of the husband. It stamped out, at once and 
forever, the horrible crime of infanticide. It pro- 
hibited not merely the abuse of wine and other in- 
toxicants, but even the slightest indulgence in them. 
It declared divination and all games of chance to be 
devices of Satan, whose practice would inevitably 
cause a forfeiture of Paradise. While countenancing 
slavery, it ameliorated the condition of the slave, who, 
under the patriarchal customs of the Orient, enjoyed 
the familiar intercourse and shared the paternal care 
of the master; declared his manumission to be the 
most commendable of acts and the most effective of 
penances; defined his rights, regulated the measure 
of his punishment and the amount of his ransom, and 
established the humane provision that, when sold, the 
slave-mother should never be separated from her child. 
It recommended as indispensable duties of the true 
believer the practice of humility, of resignation, of 
benevolence. By proclaiming the equality of all men 
and by the persistent inculcation of the virtues of 
charity and forgiveness, it gradually weakened, and 
ultimately abrogated, the law of blood-revenge, which 
the Bedouin had been accustomed to consider his most 
cherished privilege; a right whose violation, accord- 
ing to popular opinion, involved the honor of his tribe 
and the assertion of his manhood. It liberated prop- 
erty from the arbitrary impositions of a horde of 
petty chieftains, who levied excessive tribute to the 
infinite detriment of commerce, and imposed a single 
tax the tenth of the increase understood and acqui- 
esced in by all. It punished mercilessly the abuses 
which arose from the unprincipled exactions of usury, 
and, by the enforcement of laws of unexampled 
rigor, guaranteed the safety of travellers in regions 
where successful robbery had been a mark of personal 
distinction, and where the outrage of private rights 

118 History of the 

was still the unquestioned prerogative of every inhabi- 
tant whose arm was more powerful than that of his 
neighbor. Attaching the highest importance to ha- 
bitual cleanliness, it commended its daily observance, 
and, to avoid a plausible excuse for neglect, it sug- 
gested the use of sand, as symbolical of water, in 
localities where the latter could not be obtained. It 
admitted into its ceremonial the wise and time-honored 
custom of circumcision ; a purely sanitary regulation, 
whose important physiological significance every sur- 
geon will readily comprehend. Islam is emphatically 
a religion of good works, and the believer is con- 
stantly reminded that upon the Day of Judgment his 
meritorious acts and deeds of benevolence will speak 
eloquently in his favor, although his lips have long 
been closed in the silence of the grave. No organized 
body of ecclesiastics, greedy of gain and notoriety 
and utterly unscrupulous as to the means of obtain- 
ing them, thronged its temples; for, in its original 
purity, it dispensed with a salaried priesthood, and 
all who read or expounded the Koran in public were 
expressly forbidden to receive for their services any 
remuneration whatever. The unseemly contests of 
sacerdotal ambition, the senseless privations of 
asceticism, the bloody and turbulent spirit of mo- 
nastic bigotry, were, by the prudence and foresight 
of its founder, excluded from its system. Imposing 
a moderate contribution upon all those in its domin- 
ions who declined to abjure the faith of their an- 
cestors, it, upon the other hand, refused to the min- 
isters of other religions, its vassals, the privilege of 
taxing the members of their congregations without 
their consent. It impressed upon youth, of whatever 
rank or station, the obligations of polite and courteous 
behavior and the unremitting exercise of filial piety. 
It accorded to every seeker after truth the inestimable 
privilege of private interpretation and individual 

Moorish Empire in Europe 119 

opinion, an inherent right of man refused by 
Christianity until the time of Luther, who, on ac- 
count of his advocacy of this innovation, was himself 
denounced as a Mohammedan; and in certain coun- 
tries of Europe, not asserted until the seventeenth 
century, except in secret, and under the threatening 
shadows of the stake and the scaffold. Unlike other 
religions, it did not refuse salvation to those who re- 
jected its dogmas. In the presence of the allure- 
ments of the seraglio, it still represented continence 
as the most precious jewel of a believer; but, per- 
ceiving the vices provoked by the unnatural restraints 
of monastic life, it prohibited celibacy, and, for two 
centuries after the death of the Prophet, the faquir, 
the santon, and the dervish were unknown. By 
adopting to a certain extent the primitive code of 
antiquity, eliminating the evil and retaining the good 
it contained, it appealed strongly to religious senti- 
ment and national pride, rendered still more binding 
the virtues of public faith and private hospitality, 
and, by its repudiation of idolatry in all its forms, 
concentrated the mind of the devotee upon the com- 
passion, the justice, the infinite grandeur and majesty 
of God. 

A marked peculiarity of Islam is the absence of 
the female element from its ritual. Even now, in the 
days of its degeneracy, women have no place in the 
calendar of its saints; and yet we are aware that 
among all former, and many contemporaneous, re- 
ligions the employment of priestesses was common, 
and female deities were favorite objects of adoration. 
The Virgin of the Koran though her immaculate 
conception was conceded seven hundred and sixty-one 
years in advance of the decision of the Council of 
Basel is, in all other respects, an ordinary mortal, 
and is far from possessing the dignity and importance 
of the famous Isis, that fascinating goddess who, 

120 History of the 

banished from the banks of the Nile, was exalted, 
crowned with her starry emblems, in equal majesty 
and superior beauty, upon a more gorgeous throne in 
the imperial city of Catholic Rome. 

Mohammed was not exempt from the prejudices 
entertained by his countrymen towards the sex. The 
sentimental gallantry and respectful homage ten- 
dered its members by Western nations is unknown 
to the suspicious and sarcastic Oriental. The Prophet 
declared that the majority of persons he saw in hell 
during his nocturnal journey were women. But if 
the power of woman to act directly upon the fortunes 
of Islam was disdained, her indirect influence in that 
direction was enormous and undeniable. The harems 
of the polygamous conquerors at once absorbed the 
noblest and fairest maidens of the households of the 
vanquished. The children of these mothers became, 
without exception, Moslems; and, after the lapse of 
a generation, the lingering traces of other beliefs dis- 
appeared, and nothing but a reconquest and a fresh 
immigration, or a miraculous interposition of Provi- 
dence, could have restored the land, so recently sub- 
jugated, to its pristine faith. 

In religion, as in politics, success is the generally 
recognized criterion of truth; of the multitude, few 
have time or inclination for the solution of abstruse 
theological questions; but substantial results are un- 
mistakable, and even the most credulous are subject 
to the contagion of example. The successive and 
dazzling victories of Islam were, in the eyes of its 
superstitious adversaries, the most convincing argu- 
ment of the divinity of its origin. 

The doctrine of compulsion subsequently associated 
with Islam was, as already stated, not an original or 
essential part of its dogma. Mohammed did not ad- 
vise recourse to the sword until all means of peaceable 
persuasion had been exhausted, and then only during 

Moorish Empire in Europe 121 

the continuance of active hostilities. The moral im- 
pulse which Islam received as soon as its first victories 
were won was remarkable and suggestive. It was 
but the manifestation of the reverence for Force, a 
feeling which is never eradicated from human nature 
even in the mostly highly civilized communities. The 
Roman empire was founded upon this principle, of 
which it subsequently became the practical embodi- 
ment and representative. The successors of the 
Caesars, the Khali fs, well aware of its power over 
the masses, retained and perpetuated its influence, and 
the scimetar and the Koran usurped the place and 
dignity of the deposed deities Mars and Hercules. 
And even in our day we see the evidence of the sur- 
vival of this sentiment as old as man himself in 
the ceremonies relating to marriage by force among 
barbarous nations ; in the proverbial, yet unconscious, 
admiration of both sexes and especially of women 
for the soldier; in the applause that greets the 
espada in the bull-ring; and in the homage and 
hero-worship accorded to the successful athlete and 

The mountain region of the Hedjaz, the rocky 
and barren valleys of Palestine, are insignificant in 
extent, destitute of natural resources, and without 
political importance in the eyes of the conquerors 
and rulers of nations. Yet within their contracted 
limits were promulgated the three religions which 
have exercised a predominant influence over the des- 
tinies of the most diverse and widely separated races 
of the globe. The unsocial and repellent character 
of the institutions of Moses which discouraged prose- 
lytism did not prevent the power of Hebrew genius 
from being felt in every country in which the detested 
sectaries of Israel established themselves. Christi- 
anity and Mohammedanism have by turns disputed 
the empire of the civilized world. The Khalifs, the 

122 History of the 

spiritual heads of Islam, were long the exponents of 
intellectual culture, the masters of the fairest regions 
of Europe and Asia, the discerning patrons of art 
and letters. The most renowned of the Caesars, the 
greatest of modern potentates, were alike inferior 
in rank and public consideration to the Supreme 
Pontiffs, who inherited the throne ennobled by the 
traditions of Roman glory, and whose dignity was 
confirmed by the omnipotent authority of God. No 
secular government, worthy of mention in history, 
has ever been instituted in a region so dreary and in- 
hospitable as that from whence the most powerful and 
practical forms of faith that have ever enthralled hu- 
manity deduce their origin. The changes which all 
of the latter, in turn, have undergone, present a sug- 
gestive commentary on the perishable character of 
religious systems. The influence of the Babylonian 
captivity upon Judaism is apparent in every book of 
the Old Testament and in many of those of the New. 
We may safely conjecture that Christianity was some- 
thing very different in the time of Tiberius from what 
it was in the time of Constantine, and we know what 
radical changes were made in its canons and ritual by 
Gregory the Great and Luther. The ancient manu- 
scripts of the Gospels perhaps destroyed for sinister 
reasons have left no data for speculation as to their 
contents; but it is not unreasonable to at least sur- 
mise that the originals did not offer the glaring 
examples of inelegant diction and barbaric idioms that 
deform the modern versions. Nor has Islam escaped 
the fate of its predecessors, the result of the vicissi- 
tudes of time, and of the prejudices, weaknesses, and 
ambition of their votaries. Its distinctive peculiarity 
was its positive disclaimer of supernatural powers; 
yet the miracles attributed to Mohammed compose a 
considerable portion of its sacred literature, which is 
also oppressed and discredited by a vast mass of pre- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 123 

posterous fables, treasured up for centuries in the 
voluminous body of Islamitic tradition. The sim- 
plicity of its creed would seem to effectually preclude 
all attempts at sectarian division; yet seventy -three 
sects exist, whose members lose no opportunity to 
persecute each other with acrimonious hostility. Mo- 
hammed execrated idolatry and the arts of the diviner, 
and denied the merit of works of supererogation ; and 
now relics are suspended in the mosques; omens are 
sought in the Koran; intercession of saints is daily 
implored; the Persians worship the Imams; and the 
Omanites, instead of recognizing the Kaaba, render 
their obeisance to the Kiblah of their Sabean ancestors, 
the pole-star of the heavens. 

In the Prophet's attempts to secure the improve- 
ment of public morals, his attention was particularly 
drawn to Mecca as the central point of Islam, whither 
the believer turns in his daily devotions, and towards 
which his sightless eyes are directed when his body is 
deposited in the tomb. But the effects of his salutary 
admonitions died with him ; and the Meccans, relieved 
from restraint, again became notorious for the ex- 
cesses which had formerly made the Holy City a re- 
proach even to heathen Arabia. It is a deplorable 
fact, and one which unhappily affords but too much 
excuse for the gibes of the profane, that those seats 
of piety which public opinion has invested with the 
sacred prestige of celestial influence are the very ones 
whose population is the most blasphemous, vile, and 
degraded. The worst Mussulmans of the world are 
the Arabs of the Hedjaz, as the Italian populace 
has ever been the scoffer at papal infallibility and the 
relentless enemy of the Vicar of God. The three 
cities of the world whose inhabitants early acquired, 
and have since maintained, the most unenviable repu- 
tation for depravity and licentiousness are Jerusalem, 
Mecca, and Rome. 

124 History of the 

Unlike most theological systems to which men, in 
all ages, have rendered their obedient and pious 
homage, no mystery obscures the origin and founda- 
tion of Islam. The purity and simplicity of its prin- 
ciples have undergone no change. Its history has been 
preserved by the diligence of innumerable writers. 
The life and characteristics of its Prophet, even to the 
smallest detail, are accessible to the curiosity of every 
enterprising scholar. 

The austere character of a faith which, at its in- 
ception, exacts a rigid compliance with the minutest 
formalities of its ritual, naturally becomes relaxed 
and modified after that system has attained to worldly 
importance and imperial authority; or, in the lan- 
guage of one of the greatest of modern writers, " a 
dominant religion is never ascetic." It is strange that 
Islam, which, in this respect, as in many others, has 
conformed to the general law of humanity, and now 
acknowledges tenets and allows practices that would 
have struck the subjects of Abu-Bekr and Omar with 
amazement, has been able to preserve in such perfec- 
tion the observance of its ceremonial ; especially when 
it had no organized sacerdotal power to sustain it. 
The absence of an ecclesiastical order which could 
dictate the policy of the throne, and humble the pride 
of the ermine and purple with the dust in the pres- 
ence of some audacious zealot, also left untrammelled 
the way for scientific investigation and research, and, 
more than all else, contributed to dispel the darkness 
of mediaeval times. The doctrine of toleration enun- 
ciated by Mohammed gave no encouragement to that 
system of repression whose activity has exhausted 
every means of checking the growth of philosophical 
knowledge, by imposing the most direful spiritual and 
temporal penalties upon every teacher who ventures 
to publicly explain its principles ; and it is a matter of 
far deeper import to the civilization of the twentieth 

Moorish Empire in Europe 125 

century, than is implied by the mere performance of 
an act of devotion, when the Temple of Mecca the 
seat of a time-honored faith, from whose shrine ema- 
nated the spirit of learning that redeemed degraded 
Europe is saluted five times every day by the rev- 
erent homage of concentric circles of believers, one 
hundred and fifty million in number, from Tangier 
to Pekin, from the borders of Siberia to the Equi- 
noctial Line. 

We may well consider with admiration the rapid 
progress and enduring effects of this extraordinary 
religion which everywhere brought order, wealth, and 
happiness in its train ; which, in destroying the deities 
of the Kaaba, swept away the traditions of thirty 
centuries; which adopted those pagan rites that it 
could not abolish ; which seized and retained the birth- 
place of Christianity; which dispersed over so wide 
a territory alike the theocracy of the Jews and the 
ritual of Rome; which drove the Magi from the 
blazing altars of Persia; which usurped the throne 
and sceptre of the Byzantine Church; which sup- 
planted the fetichism of the African desert; which 
trampled upon the mysteries of Isis, Osiris, and 
Horus, and revealed to the wondering Egyptians the 
secret of the Most High God; which invaded the 
Councils of Catholicism, and suggested a funda- 
mental article of its belief; which fashioned the 
graceful arches of our most famous cathedrals ; which 
placed its seal upon the earth in the measurement of 
a degree, and inscribed its characters in living light 
amidst the glittering constellations of the heavens; 
which has left its traces in the most familiar terms 
of the languages of Europe; which affords daily 
proof of its beneficent offices in the garments that we 
wear, in the books that we read, in the grains of our 
harvests, in the fruits of our orchards, in the flowers 
of our gardens; and which gave rise to successive 

126 History of the 

dynasties of sovereigns, whose supreme ambition 
seemed to be to exalt the character of their subjects, 
to transmit unimpaired to posterity the inestimable 
treasures of knowledge, and to extend and perpetu- 
ate the intellectual empire of man. These signal and 
unparallelled results were effected by the inflexible 
constancy, the lofty genius, the political sagacity, of 
an Arabian shepherd, deficient in the very rudiments 
of learning, reared among a barbarous people divided 
into tribes whose mutual hostility had been intensified 
by centuries of warfare, who had no organized system 
of government, who considered the mechanical and 
mercantile arts degrading, who recognized no law but 
that of force, and knew no gods but a herd of 
grotesque and monstrous idols. Robbery was their 
profession, murder their pastime. Except within the 
precincts of their camp, no friend, unless connected 
by the sacred ties of blood, was secure. They de- 
voured the flesh of enemies slain in battle. Deceit 
always excepted, cruelty was their most prominent 
national characteristic. Their offensive arrogance, 
relentless enmity, and obstinate tenacity of purpose 
were, in a direct ratio to their ignorance and their 
brutalizing superstition, confirmed by the prodigies, 
the omens, and the legends of ages. 

To undertake the radical amelioration of such po- 
litical and social conditions was a task of appalling, 
of apparently insuperable difficulty. Its fortunate 
accomplishment may not indicate the active interposi- 
tion of Divine authority. The glories which invest 
the history of Islam may be entirely derived from the 
valor, the virtue, the intelligence, the genius, of man. 
If this be conceded, the largest measure of credit is 
due to him who conceived its plan, promoted its im- 
pulse, and formulated the rules which insured its suc- 
cess. In any event, if the object of religion be the 
inculcation of morals, the diminution of evil, the pro- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 127 

motion of human happiness, the expansion of the 
human intellect; if the performance of good works 
will avail in that great day when mankind shall be 
summoned to its final reckoning, it is neither irrev- 
erent nor unreasonable to admit that Mohammed was 
indeed an Apostle of God. 

128 History of the 




General Disorder following the Death of Mohammed Regula- 
tions of Islam Progress of the Moslem Arms Northern 
Africa, the Land of the Evening Its Fertility Its Popu- 
lation Expedition of Abdallah Defeat of the Greeks 
Invasion of Okbah Foundation of Kairoan March of 
Hassan Ancient Carthage Its Influence on Europe Its 
Splendid Civilization Its Maritime Power, its Colonies, 
its Resources Description of the City Its Architectural 
Grandeur Its Harbors, Temples, and Public Edifices Ro- 
man Carthage Its Luxury and Depravity Its Destruction 
by the Moslems Wars with the Berbers Musa appointed 
General His Romantic History His Character He sub- 
dues Al-Maghreb Africa incapable of Permanent Civiliza- 

The dissensions excited by the fierce hordes of 
Arabia, whose intolerance of authority and aversion 
to tribute had been with difficulty controlled by the 
mysterious influence of Mohammed, at his death 
broke forth with redoubled violence, and seriously 
threatened, for a time, not only the integrity of the 
Moslem empire, but even the existence and perpetuity 
of the recently established faith. With the exception 
of a few tribes which the ties of blood or considera- 
tions of personal interest, joined to their intimate 
commercial relations with the inhabitants of the Holy 
Cities, retained in a precarious allegiance, the whole 
population of the Peninsula rose at once in arms. 
Each petty chieftain, jealous of the central power, 
and endowed with an extravagant opinion of his own 
abilities as ruler and legislator, arrogated to himself 
divine authority, and aspired to the title and the pre- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 129 

rogatives of a prophet of God. The populace, half 
idolatrous and half infidel at heart, and which had 
received the injunctions of the Koran with apparent 
enthusiasm and inward contempt, welcomed with joy 
each new revelation, as affording a prospective state 
of war and discord so thoroughly in consonance with 
its predatory instincts and turbulent character. 

With this condition of affairs, whose gravity might 
well have appalled the mind of an experienced states- 
man, the executive ability and diplomatic tact of the 
first Khali f, a man bred to mercantile pursuits, yet 
admirably fitted by nature for the arduous duties of 
his exalted position, were found fully competent to 
deal. The insurgent armies were annihilated; the 
false prophets killed, driven into exile, or compelled 
to renounce their claims; the rebellious tribes were 
decimated, and their property seized as the legal spoils 
of war. With keen insight into the character of his 
countrymen, Abu-Bekr employed their fiery and in- 
domitable spirit in the extension of Islam and the 
settlement and consolidation of its hitherto ill-defined 
and uncertain jurisdiction. The policy partially de- 
veloped under his wise management was finally estab- 
lished and perfected by the iron will and martial 
genius of Omar. The latter realized thoroughly the 
paramount importance of preserving unimpaired the 
unity and prestige of his nation, whose victories, in 
brilliancy and political effect, had already surpassed 
those of any preceding conqueror, and bade fair to 
make the dominion of Islam coextensive with the 
world. In pursuance of this design, the spoils of 
conquest, the tribute of subjugated nations, the enor- 
mous rental of the plains of Asia Minor and Meso- 
potamia, the rich harvests of the Valley of the Nile, 
the magnificent gifts of distant sovereigns hoping 
to escape a visitation from the swarthy horsemen of 
the Desert were all placed in a common fund, from 

Vol. I. 9 

130 History of the 

which was pensioned every individual belonging to 
the Arab race, in regular gradation, the stipend in- 
creasing with years, dignity, and value of military 
service. No one was too insignificant to have his name 
inscribed upon the official registers at Medina; and 
even slaves, women, and newly-born infants were, as 
well as the most renowned warriors, regularly paid 
their stated allowance. In the various countries 
reduced by the prowess of the Moslems, the lands, 
though confiscated to the uses of the state, remained 
by special provision inalienable, and, while forming a 
part of the public domain, could not be acquired by 
those who had conquered them, and continued to be 
occupied and tilled by their former proprietors. By 
these regulations, also, the legal residence of the Arab 
was established and made perpetual in the Peninsula. 
Everywhere else, no matter what his rank or employ- 
ment, he was but a sojourner, liable at any moment, 
without warning, to be summoned to battle with the 
infidel; and even viceroys of the Khalif could not 
purchase a foot of ground in the cities which they 
ruled with all but absolute power. While in the case 
of female captives, the most unbounded license was 
permitted and encouraged, the believer was particu- 
larly enjoined to select for his wives the daughters 
of some Arab clan; and his children, without excep- 
tion, were early taught to assert their assumed supe- 
riority of birth, and to look down upon all foreigners, 
however illustrious they might be by descent, wealth, 
military distinction, or literary attainments. 

The comprehensive and exacting laws of Omar, 
which arbitrarily determined questions of legislation 
and finance, the marshalling of armies, the adjust- 
ment of territorial disputes, the arrangement of the 
household, and the offices of religion, laid the founda- 
tion for the future greatness of Islam. By his edict 
the date of the Hegira was fixed. His inflexible sense 

Moorish Empire in Europe 131 

of justice inflicted the humiliating punishment of the 
lash, prescribed by law for drunkenness, upon beggar 
and noble alike. The Code which bears his name is 
remarkable, even in an age of fanaticism, for the 
severe restrictions it imposed on the personal liberty 
of Jews and Christians, the only sectaries to whom 
Moslem clemency permitted the practice of their rites 
and customs. 

The assassination of Omar in the prime of man- 
hood, and before his great designs had been fully 
matured, was the signal for feuds, conspiracies, and 
every form of domestic convulsion, fomented by tribal 
jealousy, ancient prejudice, and disappointed ambi- 
tion; disturbances which the weak and vacillating 
spirit of his successor was unable to repress. Yet, de- 
spite the disadvantages arising from the intellectual 
impotence of Othman, the constitution of the Mus- 
sulman theocracy possessed sufficient vitality to re- 
tard dissolution for a considerable time. The glorious 
traditions of a decade of uninterrupted victory were 
not easily forgotten. The trophies wrested from the 
despised and hated foe were displayed in every city 
and village; his banners drooped in the courts of 
every mosque; the harem, the street, the bazaar, 
swarmed with captives from the most distant climes; 
while the annual distribution from the public treasury 
evidenced at once the wealth and weakness of the 
infidel and the paternal generosity of the conqueror. 
The Persian monarchy which had successfully with- 
stood the attacks of consul, dictator, and emperor, 
supported by the discipline and inexhaustible re- 
sources of Roman power, had fallen, after two great 
battles, before the impetuous valor of the Moslem 
hosts. Palestine, with its hallowed associations, its 
memories of all that is most sacred in the annals of 
Christianity, its scenes of divine miracle and mystery, 
of privation, suffering, and triumphant glory, was in 

132 History of the 

the hands of the Mussulman, whose sacrilegious foot- 
steps daily denied the precincts of Gethsemane and 
Golgotha, and whose call to prayer arose from a 
magnificent shrine erected upon the site of the ruined 
temple of Solomon. The Greek Emperor, after a 
reign of extraordinary vicissitudes which had, in some 
degree, retrieved the vanished prestige of the Roman 
arms deprived in rapid succession of the choicest 
realms of his empire, was now virtually a prisoner, 
protected only by the Bosphorus and the impreg- 
nable walls of his capital. Egypt, the depository of 
traditions of incalculable antiquity, had submitted, 
after a brief and determined struggle, to the common 
fate of nations, and the banners of Islam floated in 
triumph from the towers of Alexandria and Mem- 
phis. It was with a feeling of awe and wonder that 
the fierce, untutored Arab gazed upon the monuments 
of this strange and, to him, enchanted land. Before 
him were the Pyramids, rising in massive grandeur 
upon the borders of the Desert; the stupendous 
temples ; the mural paintings, whose brilliant coloring 
was unimpaired after the lapse of fifty centuries ; the 
groups of ponderous sphinxes, imposing even in their 
mutilation; the speaking statues, which, facing the 
East, with the first ray of light saluted the coming 
day ; the obelisks, sculptured upon shaft and pedestal 
with the eternal records of long extinguished dy- 
nasties; the vast subterranean tombs, whose every 
sarcophagus was a gigantic monolith ; and the effigies 
of the old Egyptian kings, personifications of dig- 
nity and power, holding in their hands the symbols of 
time and eternity, or grasping, in lieu of the sceptre, 
that emblematic staff, which, more potent than the 
wand of the mightiest magician, has controlled the 
destinies of millions of men, and which became in 
turn the wand of the Grecian hierophant in the 
mysteries of Eleusis, the lituus of the Roman augur, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 133 

and the crosier of the Catholic archbishop. At his 
feet rolled the turbid flood of the mysterious river, 
to whose periodical inundation was due the civilization 
of that venerable country. The anticipation of this 
phenomenon had necessitated the study of astronomy ; 
its overflow had developed a perfect system of irri- 
gation, and a complicated body of laws, which regu- 
lated the distribution of its fertilizing waters; its 
subsidence had required a thorough acquaintance with 
the rules of geometry and mensuration; and the 
noxious vapors arising from its steaming deposits 
demanded the speedy disinfection and embalming of 
all putrescent animal matter, a precaution which was 
rigidly enforced by established custom and the inex- 
orable precepts of religion. The initiations of the 
priesthood, the jealously treasured maxims of its 
occult knowledge, the attributes of its innumerable 
deities, all bore an intimate relation to the waters of 
the Nile, whose recurring and invariable changes also 
indicated the seasons of the Egyptian year, which 
were measured by the harvests. The influence pro- 
duced by the sight of these marvels upon the destiny 
of the simple Arab, whose horizon had hitherto been 
defined by the shifting sands and quivering vapors 
of the Desert, by whom the grandeur and symmetry 
of architectural design were undreamt of, and whose 
ideas of decoration were limited to the barbaric 
tracery of an earthen jar or the coarse patterns of 
the primitive loom, was incalculable. As every civili- 
zation is but an adaptation to new conditions of ele- 
ments more or less perceptible in those which have 
preceded it, so it was with that of the Arabs. Their 
architecture, mainly indebted for its beauty to the 
selection of designs from the vegetable world and the 
skilful combination of geometrical forms, may in this 
respect justly lay claim to originality. Nevertheless, 
in the groundwork of its finest edifices, the practised 

134 History of the 

eye can easily detect the foreign influence by which 
the efforts of its artisans have been inspired; and 
the characteristics of Persian, Egyptian, Cartha- 
ginian, and Byzantine are prominent in the solid 
walls, the graceful curves, and the sparkling mosaics 
of the builders' masterpieces which adorn the widely- 
separated provinces of the Mohammedan empire. 

It was during the reign of Othman that the atten- 
tion of the Moslems was first seriously directed to the 
northern coast of Africa, a region which, extending 
from the Nile to the Atlantic, comprised a territory 
of one thousand miles in length by five hundred in 
breadth in its largest diameter. In its approaches, 
which were made over burning sands, it exhibited the 
familiar phenomena of the Desert. The greater por- 
tion of its vast area was susceptible of cultivation, and 
contiguous plantations and gardens marked, with an 
unbroken line of verdure, the possessions of the once 
magnificent and still important cities which in the 
days of her glory acknowledged the authority and 
claimed the protection of the imperial metropolis of 
Carthage. Here the most abundant harvests, the 
most luscious fruits, rewarded, with but trifling exer- 
tion, the industry of the husbandman. Luxuriant 
pastures, through which meandered sparkling brooks 
fed by perennial springs, sustained large numbers of 
cattle and sheep. The date flourished in such variety 
that it was only by its shape and stone that its species 
could be determined. The soil was favorable to the 
olive, and oil formed an important article of export. 
It was indeed a land of promise, renowned in history, 
celebrated in myth and legend; the Ophir of Holy 
Writ; the scene of the sufferings of Marius, Regu- 
lus, and Cato; where originated many of the most 
charming fictions of classic mythology; the home of 
Danaus, Antaeus, and Atlas; for centuries the abode 
of Tyrian civilization ; the seat successively of Punic 

Moorish Empire in Europe 135 

splendor, Roman luxury, Vandal license, and Chris- 
tian faith. In its capital Hamilcar had prepared for 
the descent upon Sicily which had secured the mastery 
of the Mediterranean, and Hannibal had planned the 
campaign which humbled the pride of the Eternal 
City; the land which had received in its bosom ref- 
ugees from Palestine and Arabia, the founders and 
supporters of a new and glorious empire; the see of 
St. Augustine; the enchanted Garden, where dwelt 
the .beautiful daughters of Erebus and Night; where 
the gigantic portal marked by the two famous col- 
umns pointed out to the Phoenician mariner the way 
to the Cassiterides 

"Abyla atque Calpe." 

Carthaginian enterprise for ages bartered its manu- 
factures for the tin of Britain and the luxuries of 
Syria; under the Romans, for four centuries, its 
agricultural products maintained in profligate idle- 
ness the degenerate inhabitants of Italy. 

The further extremity of this region, which the 
poetic nomenclature of the Oriental had designated 
by the name of Al-Maghreb, " The Land of the 
Evening," was the wealthier and more productive; 
but its storm-swept coast had subordinated its trade 
to the superior commercial advantages of the eastern 
half, now Tunis and Tripoli, which was known as 
Ifrikiyah. A prefect appointed by the court of 
Constantinople administered the government of 
these colonies, in the name of the Emperor, but 
his jurisdiction was confined to a narrow belt of 
territory, beyond which roamed at will bands of 
ferocious and hardy barbarians, some of whom had 
no settled habitation; while a considerable number 
dwelt in the slopes and defiles of the Atlas Moun- 
tains, eking out a miserable subsistence by a super- 
ficial cultivation of the soil and a precarious traffic 

136 History of the 

with their scarcely less civilized neighbors. The popu- 
lation of this province was, owing to repeated immi- 
gration and invasion, and the consequent admixture 
of races, of the most heterogeneous character. Along 
the coast, the elegance of the Grecian type, occasion- 
ally modified by the dignified features and martial 
bearing of the Roman, whose physical traits had been 
partially preserved by the frequent renewal of garri- 
sons and the importation of colonists from Italy and 
Constantinople, largely predominated. Further, in- 
land appeared, in the swarthy complexions, blue eyes, 
and auburn locks, the cross between Vandal and 
Mauritanian, side by side with the unmistakable linea- 
ments of the Syrian and the Jew. But most nu- 
merous of all, the most formidable in war, the most 
perfidious in peace, were the Berbers, whose origin 
tradition has variously assigned to Europe, Assyria, 
Arabia, Ethiopia, and Palestine. Whatever may 
have been the home of this undoubtedly Semitic race, 
their affinity with the Arabs was most conspicuous and 
remarkable. Generous, brave, patient of suffering, 
prodigal of hospitality, reverential to the aged, loyal 
to their kindred, impatient of restraint, merciless in 
revenge, their character was an epitome of the rugged 
virtues and cruel vices of the roving barbarian. The 
fighting qualities of this people, joined to the inacces- 
sible nature of their haunts, and, in no small degree, 
aided by their poverty, had always secured for them 
immunity from conquest. Political reverses had 
never been able to efface their national peculiarities. 
Under persecution, while apparently conforming to 
the public faith, they remained, in reality, fetich 
worshippers. The long dominations of Phoenician, 
Roman, Byzantine, Teuton had effected no altera- 
tion in their language the Arabic alone has been 
able to engross about a third of the terms of their 
guttural idiom. Their polity resembled a republic, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 137 

where each village was independent and governed by 
a chieftain elected by the people. Time and again 
they had mustered for service against the Emperor 
armies of thirty and forty thousand men ; but the first 
defeat dissolved their confederacy; and the rival 
chiefs returned with increased avidity to the plunder 
and massacre of their allies and friends. Their per- 
fidy, which excited the unwilling admiration of na- 
tions long practised in the arts of deceit, and which 
was experienced to their cost by the Romans in the 
war with Jugurtha, was, without doubt, in a measure 
responsible for the proverbial reputation for duplicity 
the " Punica fides" of Carthage. Originally idol- 
aters, believers in sorcery and divination, and adorers 
of the Sun and of Fire, their intercourse with their 
neighbors, considering its irregular and transitory 
character, had been singularly productive of changes 
in religious belief. The emissaries of Christianity 
had, with but indifferent success, disseminated among 
them the mysteries of their faith ; but to the doctrines 
of the Pentateuch and the Talmud they lent a willing 
ear, and the tenets of Judaism, although not a little 
tinctured with the traditions of Pagan mythology, 
nominally received the assent of the entire Berber 
nation. The peculiar type of the Hebrew, insensibly 
diversified elsewhere by the associations of commer- 
cial intercourse, and by the influence of soil, climate, 
and the operation of laws more or less favorable to 
the fusion of races, had, in the wilds of Northern 
Africa, found a congenial locality for its preserva- 
tion. The exiles who had escaped the persecutions of 
Titus and Hadrian had settled there and prospered. 
Laying aside their proverbial reserve, they had joined 
to their hereditary inclination for traffic an unwonted 
disposition to acquire proselytes; and their opinions 
had infected, to a greater or less extent, the popula- 
tion of the coast as well as that of the interior, from 

138 History of the 

the Greater Syrtis to the Pillars of Hercules. Their 
relations and acquaintance extended not only to the 
extreme Orient, but were sustained with the semi- 
barbarous courts of Europe; and their sympathies 
with their brethren of Semitic origin, assisted by the 
community of ideas, habits, and mode of life of the 
Berber tribes, contributed, in a degree which cannot 
be overestimated, to the establishment and preserva- 
tion of the Western empire of Islam. 

In the year 647, the covetous glances of the govern- 
ment at Medina were turned towards the rich planta- 
tions and populous settlements of Al-Maghreb; and 
the predatory inroads which had hitherto vexed its 
borders were, for the first time, superseded by a sys- 
tematic and determined attempt at conquest. The 
weakness and partiality of Othman, with whom the 
aggrandizement of his family was a paramount con- 
sideration, had removed the famous Amru from the 
viceroyalty of Egypt, and invested with its adminis- 
tration Abdallah-Ibn-Sa'd, the foster-brother of the 
Khali f, a warrior of experience and courage and the 
finest horseman of his nation, but a man whose re- 
nown had been sullied by the crime of apostasy, and 
who had used an employment of confidence to ridi- 
cule and revile the inspired teachings and sacred 
character of the Prophet. 

Calling into requisition all the resources of his gov- 
ernment, this Moslem general marched into the Desert 
with twenty thousand soldiers, among them many of 
the companions of Mohammed and representatives 
of the most noble tribes of Arabia. After a few un- 
important skirmishes, and a short but bloody engage- 
ment in which a division of the Greeks was entirely 
destroyed, the Arab army advanced to Tripoli, and, 
investing its walls, pushed forward the operations of 
the siege with an energy hardly to be expected from 
a people whose experience had been confined to ma- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 139 

rauding expeditions and the stratagems of partisan 
warfare. Under the dominion of the Byzantine em- 
perors, the office of prefect had been substituted for 
that of the ancient proconsul; and this employment 
was not only charged with the execution of the laws 
relating to civil and military affairs, but also claimed 
jurisdiction over matters pertaining to the welfare 
of the church, the appointment of its ministers, and 
the enforcement of the canons of ecclesiastical disci- 
pline. The prefect Gregory, whose talents had been 
exercised, and whose prowess had been approved, in 
many negotiations and conflicts with the Berbers, at 
the head of a tumultuous and undisciplined force of 
one hundred and twenty thousand men, moved for- 
ward to the relief of Tripoli. Abandoning the siege, 
the Arabs accepted the challenge, and a series of 
battles ensued without decided advantage upon either 
side, until the prefect, mortified that the numerical 
superiority of his troops should be neutralized by the 
desperate courage of his adversaries, offered the hand 
of his beautiful daughter who, completely armed, 
was each day conspicuous in the ranks of the van- 
guard and a purse of one hundred thousand pieces 
of gold to any one who would bring him the head 
of the Moslem general. The courage of Abdallah, 
although he had faced death in a hundred forms, was 
not proof against this effort of his wily antagonist, 
and, remaining idly in his tent, he left the conduct of 
operations to the care of his lieutenants. In the mean 
time there arrived at the Arab camp a small detach- 
ment headed by Ibn-al-Zobeir, a warrior of distinc- 
tion, who heard with contempt of the pusillanimous 
conduct of the general. Seeking him, he denounced 
his cowardice, suggesting that he should retaliate by 
the offer of a similar sum, and the prefect's daughter 
as a slave, to whoever should cast at his feet the head 
of the Greek commander. The advice was taken ; the 

140 History of the 

tempting reward was published throughout the camp ; 
the Arab youth were fired by emulation to redoubled 
efforts; and Abdallah himself, shamed into action, 
again appeared in the front of battle. But the over- 
whelming numbers of the Greeks, inspired by the 
example of a few legions which yet retained the tradi- 
tions of Roman steadiness and discipline, and sup- 
ported by the rapid evolutions of the Numidian 
cavalry, famous from the days of Jugurtha, still 
rendered the issue doubtful, and by repeated engage- 
ments the ranks of the Arabs were being constantly 
diminished. Again the talents of Ibn-al-Zobeir were 
called into requisition ; the battle was renewed as usual 
at daybreak ; and when the blazing sun had exhausted 
the strength of the combatants, both armies retired 
to the shelter of their tents. But the Moslems had 
not all been engaged, and a division composed of 
troops, selected for their bravery and commanded by 
the intrepid Ibn-al-Zobeir, burst suddenly like a 
thunderbolt upon the hostile camp. 

Seized with a panic, as they were reposing after 
the arduous struggle of the day, the ranks of the 
enemy were broken, the prefect was killed, and the 
camp given over to pillage. A rich booty and innu- 
merable captives compensated the victors for their 
trials ; the beauteous Amazon became the slave of Ibn- 
al-Zobeir; and, after the capture of the important 
city of Suf etela, the entire district acknowledged the 
authority of the Khalif . The ravages of disease, the 
losses resulting from a series of engagements lasting 
for months, and the lack of reinforcements, made it 
impossible for Abdallah to garrison the towns, or to 
retain in subjection the restless tribes of the interior; 
and he consented, with alacrity, to accept a bribe of 
two million five hundred thousand dinars and abandon 
the conquest. The spoil was sent to Medina, and 
Othman further incurred the charges of injustice and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 141 

nepotism by presenting Abdallah with the royal fifth, 
and by permitting his cousin Merwan to purchase the 
remainder at the low valuation of three hundred 
talents of gold. 

For nearly a quarter of a century, the civil wars 
provoked by the conflicting claims of the various 
aspirants to the throne of the khalifate and the suc- 
ceeding political establishments left in security the 
Greek possessions of the West. The Byzantine court 
learned with amazement of the enormous ransom with 
which the inhabitants of Africa had purchased the 
withdrawal of the invaders; and its avarice was ex- 
cited when it considered the resources of a country 
which could collect so large a sum after having, for 
generations, been subject to the rapacious inquisition 
of the imperial tax-gatherers. Without delay, the Em- 
peror demanded a contribution of the same amount 
as unpaid tribute; and all the mechanism of extor- 
tion was employed, to complete the ruin of his already 
impoverished subjects. Oppressed beyond endurance, 
the Africans sent an embassy headed by the Patriarch 
himself to Damascus, and reciting their grievances, 
described in glowing terms to Muavia the wealth of 
their country and the advantages which must accrue 
to the Moslems from its possession. The Khalif, 
deeply impressed by their representations, ordered 
Ibn-Hajij, governor of Egypt, to undertake the 
conquest; but the enterprise was not carried out 
with the customary vigor of the Saracens, and re- 
sulted only in the partial occupancy of the coast and 
the subjection of a few unimportant cities. The 
permanent establishment of Mussulman rule dates, 
however, from this expedition, and henceforth the 
standard of Islam, although often furled before the 
intrepid spirit of the Berbers, was advanced, foot by 
foot, to the far distant shores of the Western Ocean. 
The most successful commander, and the one who 

142 History of the 

alone, excepting Musa, made the most enduring im- 
pression upon the valiant and treacherous barbarians 
of Al-Maghreb, was Okbah-Ibn-Nafi, who was next in- 
vested with the command. Entering the hostile region 
at the head of ten thousand veteran cavalry, he made 
war with the same resolution and uncompromising 
spirit which marked the careers of the daring Amru 
and Khalid, " The Sword of God." The Christians 
who refused, by either submission or conversion, to ac- 
knowledge the divine origin of Islam were ruthlessly 
slaughtered; but the orders of the Khalif explicitly 
prohibited the equipment or use of naval armaments, 
and the seaports of the Greeks escaped, for the time, 
the fate which was inevitable. The Berbers, behold- 
ing with wonder the apparently invincible character 
of their enemy, equally fortunate in plain and moun- 
tain fastness, defeating with ease their bravest squad- 
rons, and scaling, despite all obstacles, the ail-but im- 
pregnable defences of their strongholds, clothed him 
with the attributes of divinity, and, submitting to his 
dominion, recognized the power of the Khalif, while 
at the same time, abjuring their idolatry, they con- 
fessed the unity and majesty of God. The advance 
of Okbah was the triumphant progress of a con- 
queror. Almost unresisted, he traversed the regions 
peopled by hordes of fierce barbarians, until, having 
penetrated to the Atlantic, he rode his horse into its 
seething waters, and, drawing his sword, cried out, 
" God is great! Were I not hindered by this sea, I 
would go forward to the unknown kingdoms of the 
West, proclaiming the greatness of Thy Holy Name 
and subduing those nations who worship other gods 
than Thee!" 

The moral effect of the expedition of Okbah, which 
familiarized the nations of the north of Africa with 
the doctrines of Islam, was of far more importance 
than the spoil collected by the victorious army, which 

Moorish Empire in Europe 143 

was, in itself, not inconsiderable. The wealth of the 
Berbers, ignorant as they were of the mechanical arts 
and the elegant appliances of luxury, was confined to 
flocks and herds; but the beauty and fascinations of 
their women aroused the passions of the conquerors, 
and many of them subsequently commanded in the 
markets of Alexandria and Damascus the extraordi- 
nary price of a thousand mithcals of gold. The in- 
constant character of the tribes of Mauritania and 
the Atlas, amenable only to the restraints of military 
power, and to whom conversion and apostasy were 
mere matters of temporary expediency, suggested to 
the sagacious mind of Okbah the necessity for the 
establishment of a fortified post in the territory of 
this active and formidable enemy. An inland posi- 
tion was selected, to avoid the attacks of the naval 
forces of Constantinople, and, despite the serious 
physical disadvantages of barrenness, drought, and 
excessive heat, a city was built, to which was given the 
name of Kairoan ; a metropolis destined in after times 
to attain to an important rank in the annals of the 
dynasties of Africa. The walls were of brick, with 
flanking towers, and embraced six miles in circuit. 
The foundations of a mosque, an edifice measuring 
two hundred and twenty by one hundred and fifty 
cubits, were laid; its seventeen naves were adorned 
with the plundered marbles of Utica and Carthage; 
the graceful proportions of its minaret and the ele- 
gance of its mural decorations are still proverbial in 
the Mohammedan world. The bazaar of the city 
lined a street three miles in length ; its schools became 
the resort of the learned; the authority of its muftis 
on points of doctrine was indisputable; and, as the 
seat of the viceroy of the Khalif, it long maintained 
its political importance. 

The implacable and perfidious spirit of the Berbers, 
whom no treaties could control, now broke out in the 

144 History of the 

prosecution of petty hostilities, which the scattered 
forces of the Moslems were powerless to prevent. 
Forays were made upon isolated settlements, flocks 
were driven off, hamlets given to the flames, and 
even the security of the rising colony of Kairoan was 
threatened. Emboldened by their success, the Berber 
chiefs confederated for the total destruction of the 
Moslems. Koceila, an influential chieftain, who had 
been wantonly insulted and maimed by Okbah and 
was now kept a close prisoner in the camp, was the 
moving spirit of the conspiracy. Learning too late 
of the plan of the enemy, Okbah was compelled to 
weaken his army, and while a detachment for the re- 
lief of Kairoan was on the march, it was suddenlv 
attacked near Tehuda by an overwhelming force of 
barbarian cavalry. The little band of Mussulmans, 
less than four hundred in number, seeing the hope- 
lessness of the contest, commended themselves to God, 
and, casting away their scabbards, perished to a man, 
scimetar in hand. The tombs of these martyrs are 
still objects of veneration to the devout, and Zab, 
where they are situated, enjoys the sanctity, privi- 
leges, and lucrative trade of a place of pilgrimage. 
The Franks and Berbers with their usual inconstancy 
now flocked to the standard of Koceila, who assumed 
the title of an independent sovereign and for five 
years remained the undisputed ruler of Ifrikiyah. 
At the expiration of that period, a fresh army of 
Arabs under Zoheir defeated the Berbers in a de- 
cisive battle, and, Koceila having been killed, the lieu- 
tenant of the Khalif again asserted his unstable au- 
thority. It was not long before the new governor 
Zoheir succumbed to the treachery of the cunning 
barbarians, and the Khalif Abd-al-Melik imposed 
upon Hassan, Viceroy of Egypt, the task which 
had foiled the skill and energy of so many of his 
predecessors. But none of the latter had mustered 

Moorish Empire in Europe 145 

such a force, or could have controlled such vast re- 
sources, as did the new commander-in-chief. His 
office, as Governor of Egypt, placed at his disposal 
the enormous wealth of that fertile country, and he 
marched out of Alexandria at the head of a thor- 
oughly equipped army of forty thousand veterans. 
He was well provided with scaling ladders and the 
various engines for the siege of fortified places, 
while the success of the Moslems in the East had 
inspired them with confidence, and afforded experi- 
ence in the attack upon fortifications, a branch of 
warfare in which they had at first been entirely de- 
ficient. Resolving to reduce the strongholds of the 
coast, which were still in possession of the Greeks, 
Hassan, after traversing the region which had been 
desolated, and partially colonized by former com- 
manders, advanced at once upon Carthage. This 
famous city, which had preserved, amidst unparal- 
leled disaster, the prestige and the traditions of its 
former greatness, was still the capital of Africa and 
the seat of the imperial prefect. The power of 
Phoenicia, almost omnipotent in the maritime world 
of the ancients, founded upon boundless wealth, 
upon extensive acquaintance with distant lands and 
peoples, upon scientific secrets, whose importance 
was exaggerated by mystery, and upon the undis- 
puted dominion of the seas, had been transmitted 
to Carthage, her favorite and most important colony. 
A brief notice of the history of the latter, so inti- 
mately connected with the fortunes of every nation 
of ancient and modern Europe, is not foreign to an 
account of the Mohammedan conquest of Africa, nor 
to that of the subsequent occupation of Spain. For, 
inspired by her example, from her harbor issued the 
first naval expedition of the Moslems in the West, 
which ravaged the coasts of Sardinia, threatened the 
Greek empire, and subdued the Balearic Isles. The 

Vol. I. 10 

146 History of the 

invention of the compass, popularly but erroneously 
attributed to the sailors of Amalfi, it has been con- 
jectured, with some degree of probability, was in 
reality a legacy of Tyre to Carthage; and it is cer- 
tain that the peculiar properties of the magnet, desig- 
nated the Stone of Hercules, were familiar to the 
mariners of those cities, who employed it in divina- 
tion and in the secret ceremonies of their temples 
upon the shores of every sea. The straight sword 
of the Spanish Arab, so different from the curved 
blade of the Orient, is the sword of the Carthaginian ; 
a weapon which, subsequently adopted by Rome from 
Iberia, conquered the world, including the African 
warriors who invented it. The cap of the Basque is 
a modification of the old Punic, or Phrygian, head 
covering, still worn by the Jewesses of Tunis, and 
which, in our day, has been adopted as one of the 
emblems of Liberty. The toga of Rome and the 
burnous of the Arab can be traced to the same origin, 
being derived by Carthage from Phoenicia, and by the 
latter from Lydia; and the names, customs, tradi- 
tions, and ceremonies of modern Spain suggest daily, 
to the intelligent observer, the enduring impressions 
produced by the domination of the ancient Queen of 
the Mediterranean. Even in her ruin did Carthage 
contribute to the progress of science and the well- 
being of humanity. The cathedral of Pisa, under 
whose dome Galileo pursued his experiments and per- 
fected the pendulum-clock, was constructed of the 
marbles of her palaces ; and the unrivalled mosque of 
Cordova, the centre of mediaeval learning, in whose 
precincts was the finest library of the age, still con- 
tains hundreds of columns, around whose shafts once 
curled the wreaths of incense that rose from the altars 
of the Tyrian Hercules. But far more important 
than all else was the influence exerted upon the Arab 
invaders by the defaced and shattered memorials of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 147 

her departed grandeur. Despite the effects of Ro- 
man hate and vengeance, the destructive energy of 
Genseric, and the shameless neglect of the Byzantine 
emperors, Carthage was still a great and beautiful 
city. Many of her stately edifices were preserved; 
her temples, towering in their pristine majesty, 
beckoned the anxious mariner to her prosperous 
shores; her harbors with their colonnades were still 
intact, and it was with no ordinary emotions that the 
Moslem looked upon these evidences of the taste and 
civilization of one of the most opulent and renowned 
capitals of antiquity. The Phoenicians, by their 
proximity to and regular intercourse with the highly 
cultivated races of Assyria and Egypt, had added 
immeasurably to their stock of learning, and eagerly 
disseminated among their colonies the notions of poli- 
tics, philosophy, and science, which they had imbibed 
in their periodical voyages to the banks of the Eu- 
phrates and the Nile. And as from Asia Minor, 
plainly disclosed in the myth of Cadmus, first ema- 
nated that knowledge of letters and the arts, which, 
expanding with a prodigious development, culmi- 
nated in the matchless creations of the Grecian 
sculptor and the Grecian muse; so to the northern 
coast of Africa can be traced the dawn of that in- 
spiration of refinement and taste which awakened in 
the minds of the rude and warlike nomads of the 
Desert a desire for something better than the subju- 
gation of barbarian tribes, something more enduring 
than the costly pageants of military glory. 

Settled almost thirteen centuries before the Chris- 
tian era, and inheriting from the parent city of Tyre 
that spirit of enterprise which had gained for the 
latter the carrying trade of the world, at the time of 
the foundation of Rome, Carthage was already the 
wealthiest and most polished state on the shores of 
the Mediterranean. Her inhabitants, rather inclined 

148 History of the 

to peaceful occupations and the luxurious ease that 
prosperity confers than to the privations of the camp 
and the dangers of the field, usually enlisted mer- 
cenaries to prosecute their conquests. When at the 
height of her power, her armies, which had penetrated 
the mysterious depths of the Libyan and Ethiopian 
deserts, and whose prowess had been displayed alike 
in the defiles of Sicily and upon the plains of the 
Bastis, had subjected to her authority a wide extent 
of territory, and more than three hundred towns in 
Africa alone, many of them places of considerable 
magnitude. In the Spanish Peninsula, whence she 
drew her supplies of the precious metals, she em- 
ployed in the silver mines fifty thousand men. The 
most assiduous care was paid to agriculture, and the 
extraordinary fertility of the soil, yielding with ease 
one hundred and fifty fold, was assisted by an equable 
climate and a scientific and extensive system of irri- 
gation. The substantial character of the public works 
of the capital is evinced by the ruins of the cisterns 
and the aqueduct, which have defied the storms and 
revolutions of two thousand years. But it was chiefly 
in commercial affairs that the Carthaginians asserted 
their immeasurable superiority over all their con- 
temporaries. Their merchants, whose enterprise was 
proverbial, were familiar with some of the ingenious 
expedients that, in our day, among civilized nations, 
so facilitate and simplify important business trans- 
actions. The most remarkable of these described by 
Latin writers were certain pieces of leather which, 
when folded in a peculiar manner, and sealed to pre- 
vent forgery, readily passed as money, undoubted 
precursors of our bank-notes and bills of exchange. 
They seem to have had also well-defined ideas of the 
fiscal and other regulations demanded by the exi- 
gencies of foreign trade, such as banking, insurance, 
and duties on imports. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 149 

Until the conclusion of the second Punic War, no 
noticeable progress had been made in the arts at Rome, 
and the total destruction of Carthage was, in this re- 
spect, as in many others, of incalculable advantage to 
her fortunate adversary. Among the treasures pro- 
cured at the sack of the city are mentioned, besides 
paintings and statues, gold and silver vessels of curi- 
ous workmanship, and so valuable that the portion 
reserved for the triumph of the victor amounted to a 
sum equal to eight million dollars. In the spoil were 
also included beautiful mosaics, and incredible quan- 
tities of precious stones, articles of luxury especially 
prized by the Carthaginians, and which they knew 
how to engrave with surprising skill. These exquisite 
models, perfected by the labors of countless genera- 
tions, were not without a decided effect in promoting 
the education and stimulating the ambition of the Ro- 
man designers and artisans. We learn from Appian 
that there were many libraries in the city, which also 
boasted not a few writers of note, but none of their 
productions have been preserved, and the only native 
author whose fame has reached posterity is Terence, 
a liberated slave, who, at the age of twenty-five, de- 
lighted the critical audiences of the Roman theatres 
with the flights of his precocious genius. Some esti- 
mate may be formed of the military and naval power 
of Carthage, when we recall the fact that during the 
Sicilian wars, which lasted twenty-four years, she 
lost, in a single battle, five hundred ships of the 
largest size, together with an army of one hundred 
and fifty thousand men, without sensibly impairing 
her resources or retarding her career of conquest. 
Had a similar misfortune befallen any contempo- 
raneous state it could hardly have survived the shock. 
The equipage and plate of the Carthaginian generals 
were of the most sumptuous description, and they 
went into action bearing magnificent bucklers em- 

150 History of the 

bossed with medallion portraits of their owners in 
massy gold. 

Occupying the centre of the Southern Mediter- 
ranean coast, and accessible to every port frequented 
by traders, Carthage was speedily enabled to profit 
to the utmost by those advantages of geographical 
position that paved the way to her political and mari- 
time ascendency, At her left hand were the Pillars 
of Hercules, and the channel through which passed 
the trade of Spain and Britain; at her right the in- 
exhaustible granaries of Egypt; in front of her, the 
quarries, mines, and slave-marts of Italy and Greece ; 
in her rear the gold and gems of Libya. Upon a 
peninsula, whose isthmus was defended by a triple 
wall, lay the city, embracing a circuit of twenty -three 
miles, and containing a population of nearly a million. 
Inside the fortifications, on the east, was the Kothon, 
a double harbor, consisting of two circular basins con- 
nected by a canal sixty feet wide, barricaded with 
enormous iron chains. The outer and larger basin, 
six thousand feet in circumference, was destined for 
the use of merchantmen; the inner one was reserved 
exclusively for galleys and men-of-war. Both were 
surrounded by docks, storehouses, quarters for ma- 
rines, and arsenals, and were approached by splendid 
Ionic porticos and colonnades of white marble. In 
the centre of an island in the inner harbor, at whose 
quays two hundred vessels could ride securely at 
anchor, rose the castle of the admiral who directed 
all manoeuvres at the sound of trumpet. Immedi- 
ately over the Kothon, on an elevation that com- 
manded it, stood the famous Byrsa, or citadel. Its 
wall rose to the height of sixty-five feet, and was 
flanked by numerous towers; adjoining the latter 
were stables for four thousand horses and three hun- 
dred elephants, and barracks that could accommodate 
a garrison of twenty-four thousand men. Eighteen 

Moorish Empire in Europe 151 

cisterns, seven of which are still intact, each ninety- 
three feet long by twenty wide and twenty-eight feet 
deep, connected by a tunnel with reservoirs in the 
suburbs, furnished an abundant supply of water. 
The highest point of the Byrsa was occupied by the 
temple of iEsculapius, the tutelary deity of the city, 
and although, in fact, an almost impregnable fortress, 
the skill of the engineer had thoroughly disguised its 
formidable character. It was situated above a series 
of terraces, resembling the hanging gardens of As- 
syria, and was reached by superb marble staircases 
adorned with beautiful statues, urns, and other works 
of art. Slabs of porphyry and verd-antique covered 
its walls; its arcades were paved and encrusted with 
mosaics; and the veneration in which it was held by 
the people was attested by the gorgeous appoint- 
ments of its shrine. But the fane of iEsculapius, with 
all its splendor, was not without many rivals in the 
African metropolis. The religion of the Cartha- 
ginians, originally astronomical and profoundly sym- 
bolic, had centuries before discarded the purer forms 
of astral worship for a debased and cruel polytheism. 
The different wards of the city were named from 
the various deities whose altars they contained. West 
of the Kothon was the temple of Apollo, and adjoin- 
ing it the shrine of Melcareth, or Hercules whose 
precincts no woman was suffered to enter, and whose 
priests, assuming the vow of chastity, went barefoot 
and with shaven crowns stood side by side with the 
fragrant gardens within whose mystic groves were 
celebrated, amidst indescribable orgies, the licentious 
rites of the Phoenician Astarte. Nearer the sea was 
the grand temple of the African Baal, the Moloch of 
the Hebrews, surrounded by a labyrinth and covered 
with three concentric domes, which, open above like 
that of the Pantheon at Rome, permitted the rays of 

152 History of the 

the sun at high meridian to descend upon the brazen 
image of the god. 

The other edifices of the African capital were, in 
richness and splendor, eminently worthy of its temples 
and its citadel. The vast commerce of Carthage 
placed at its command the resources of all antiquity. 
No labor or expense was spared in architectural deco- 
ration. On the facade of its theatre, which rose for 
seven stories in tiers of graceful arches, were sculp- 
tured the forms of animals, the effigies of famous 
artisans, the figures of military commanders, and 
symbolical representations of the elements, the sea- 
sons, and the winds. The circus, inferior in extent 
only to that of Rome, was supported by fluted columns 
of such enormous size that twelve men could sit with 
ease upon the edge of one of their capitals towering 
a hundred feet above the arena. In the principal 
square, the reservoir, fed by the great aqueduct, was 
surrounded by balustrades and arches. All of these 
public works were of white marble, which glittered 
like crystal under the rays of a southern sun. The 
taste which designed them was the result of three 
thousand years of civilization. Every nation of the 
ancient world had contributed its share to their sym- 
metry, their value, their magnificence. The beauty 
of the material was enhanced a thousand-fold by the 
incomparable elegance of the sculpture and the orna- 

The Megara, a suburb of Carthage, contained the 
country-seats and palaces of the nobility, some of 
them built, like the houses of Venice, upon piles and 
arches in the sea. It was an immense park seamed 
with canals and rivulets, whose waters were conveyed 
by conduits from the mountains sixty miles away. 
The reservoirs of the Megara, so extensive that they 
now constitute an Arab village, were constructed in 
the same substantial manner as the cisterns of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 153 

Byrsa. On a promontory above them was the necropo- 
lis, where the ashes of the dead were deposited in 
countless niches hewn in the living rock. 

Upon the ruins of this rich and powerful city, which 
had so long and so obstinately disputed the supremacy 
of the masters of the world, had risen another that 
almost rivalled its predecessor in commercial impor- 
tance and architectural splendor. Founded one hun- 
dred and one years after the triumph of Scipio, it 
yielded in prestige and luxury only to the great capi- 
tals of Italy and Egypt, and was justly regarded as 
one of the most valuable possessions of the Roman 
colonial empire. Its advantages of location, the agri- 
cultural wealth of the country, the settlement of many 
noble Italian families fugitives from imperial op- 
pression and barbarian violence and the glorious 
example of former ages, soon raised the new metropo- 
lis to a position scarcely inferior to that of the old. 
Its edifices could vie with even the proudest monu- 
ments of the Eternal City; the wealth, intelligence, 
polished manners, and boundless excesses of its in- 
habitants made its name proverbial throughout an- 
tiquity. In the seventh century it divided with Alex- 
andria the commerce of the Mediterranean, and was 
greatly its superior in rank, population, and power. 
The head of the civil magistracy of Africa, and the 
seat of a large military garrison, it almost monopolized 
the taste and refinement, the learning, the philosophy, 
and the jurisprudence, of the Western world. Uni- 
versities with chairs of the liberal arts, academies which 
afforded instruction in every language and every 
science, flourished within its walls; its circus and its 
amphitheatre were crowded daily with the wit and 
beauty of the city, whose pleasure-loving society, un- 
speakably corrupt, had added to the dissolute habits 
inherited from Punic times the unnatural vices im- 
ported by patrician refugees and colonists from the 

154 History or the 

orgies of decadent Rome. For perversity of dispo- 
sition, for shameless effrontery, for perfidious disre- 
gard of faith and contempt of honor, and for brazen 
immodesty, the most debauched communities of the 
East and West, by universal consent, conferred upon 
the population of Carthage the unenviable distinction 
of unapproachable infamy. The Vandals had plun- 
dered its treasures and enslaved its people, but had 
spared its noble buildings, and exempted its walls 
from the destruction which had usually befallen those 
of other towns conquered by these barbarians. Such 
was the city which interposed a formidable and 
hitherto insuperable barrier to the enterprise of the 
Moslems; and whose transcendent influence has left 
its stamp upon the habits, the creeds, and the opinions 
of every subsequent age; to which ancient commerce 
was indebted for its development, and from which 
modern belief has derived some of the most popular 
of its dogmas ; among them the doctrines of St. Au- 
gustine and the leading principles of patristic theol- 
ogy, that even now control ecclesiastical councils and 
prescribe the rules of Christian discipline. 

His preparations completed, the Moslem general, 
seconded by the enthusiasm of his splendid army, and 
confident of success, prepared at once for an assault. 
The ladders were planted, and despite the terrors of 
Greek fire, and the valor of the Byzantine garrison 
which behaved with unusual spirit, the city was taken. 
But, in the mean time, news of the danger of the 
colony had reached the Bosphorus; the Court was 
aroused from its lethargy; a powerful fleet was 
equipped; and the Moslems had scarcely rested from 
their efforts before the arrival of this new enemy com- 
pelled them to retreat. A few months later, however, 
reinforcements having been received by Hassan, Car- 
thage was again stormed ; a decisive victory was gained 
by the Moslems over the Greeks, who imprudently 

Moorish Empire in Europe 155 

risked an engagement in the open field; the city was 
plundered and burnt; and the jurisdiction over its 
territory passed away forever from the hands of the 
corrupt and pusillanimous sovereigns of the Eastern 

But the destruction of the capital, a political meas- 
ure to secure supremacy, while producing a decisive 
moral effect upon the remaining colonies of the 
Greeks, was far from intimidating the Berbers, whose 
omnipresent squadrons remained the masters of all the 
region situated beyond the fortified towers of the 
frontier. A female impostor of princely lineage 
whose name, Dhabba', has been abandoned by subse- 
quent chroniclers for the popular appellation Kahina, 
or Sorceress had, by her mysterious arts, obtained 
unbounded influence over her countrymen; and, in- 
spiring them with a certain degree of patriotism, had 
appeased their feuds and united the roving tribes 
of the Atlas in an extensive and powerful confeder- 
acy. Animated by her teachings and allured by 
her promise of booty, the Berbers pressed upon the 
forces of Hassan until the latter, after great losses, 
were finally expelled, and repairing to Barca, re- 
mained there in a state of inglorious inactivity for 
nearly five years. It is related that as soon as the 
enemy had passed the borders, the sorceress-queen 
ordered the fertile region of the coast, which, in 
the days of its prosperity, had furnished the sup- 
plies of the Empire, and whose beauty had been 
celebrated by every traveller, to be utterly desolated, 
as a precaution against future invasion. The fields 
were laid waste, the towns depopulated, the harvests 
burnt, the orchards cut down, the plantations trans- 
formed into a wilderness. This irrational act of vio- 
lence was not viewed with complacency by the land- 
holders and other civilized inhabitants of the country, 
and, from time to time, emissaries were despatched to 

156 History of the 

the Arab Viceroy of Africa, promising him in return 
for his interference the assistance and future allegi- 
ance of the persecuted colonists. At length the order 
to advance arrived from Damascus, and Hassan, with 
the most numerous army that had ever invaded Africa, 
encountered the priestess at the head of her adherents 
near Mount Auras. In the battle that ensued, Kahina 
was killed; the Berbers were overwhelmingly de- 
feated; and the whole of the refractory province 
again invoked the clemency of the victor. But the 
same evil genius which, from first to last, attended the 
administration of the Moslem governors of Africa, 
now began to disturb the fortunes of Hassan. Abd- 
al-Aziz, the brother of the Khalif, was appointed to 
the viceroy alty of Egypt, upon which the jurisdiction 
of Africa was made dependent; and Hassan was 
summoned to Damascus, to answer serious accusations 
of tyrannical conduct which had been lodged against 
him. But the sight of the spoil wrested from the 
Berbers, the present of female captives of extraordi- 
nary beauty, the plausible explanations of his conduct 
which his fertile ingenuity suggested, and the glowing 
accounts of his successes, soon restored the distin- 
guished commander to the favor of his sovereign, 
and Hassan was reinvested with the government of 
Africa with increased authority. On the return of 
the latter, while passing through Egypt, Abd-al-Aziz 
demanded the surrender of his commission under color 
of the supremacy formerly attached to the viceroy alty 
of that country, and by which the rest of Mohamme- 
dan Africa was claimed as a dependency. Enraged by 
his refusal, the governor arbitrarily deprived Hassan 
of his commission, tore it in pieces before his face, and, 
in defiance of the royal authority, declared the office 
vacant, and appointed at his own instance Musa-Ibn- 
Nosseyr commander of the armies of the West. 

The history of this famous soldier is tinged with a 

Moorish Empire in Europe 157 

coloring of adventure, unusual even in the romantic 
atmosphere of the Orient. A hundred miles directly 
west of Ctesiphon is Ain-Tamar, now an oasis fre- 
quented by wandering banditti, but in the seventh 
century a prosperous settlement enriched by the 
trade of Syria and Persia, and the seat of a Nes- 
torian church and monastery. Attracted by the re- 
ports of its wealth, an expedition headed by Khalid 
himself surprised it, after a long and painful march 
over the desert. In the cloisters of the monastery were 
found a number of youths of high rank, who were 
nominally pursuing their studies under the direction 
of the monks, but were in reality hostages selected 
from the most distinguished families of Asia Minor. 
When offered the customary alternative of slavery 
or apostasy, the majority chose the latter, and two of 
them, Sirin and Nosseyr, became the fathers of sons 
who exerted a wide-spread influence over the destinies 
of Islam. From Sirin descended Mohammed the 
learned doctor of Bassora, and one of the most famous 
authorities of Islamic literature ; and Nosseyr was the 
parent of Musa, the conqueror of Africa and Spain. 
Nosseyr was attached to the family of Abd-al-Melik 
by the right of capture and Mohammedan custom, and 
his son occupied the same relation to Abd-al-Aziz, the 
heir of the Khalif , who bestowed upon him marks of 
distinguished favor, and shared with him a friendship 
rare indeed in the families of princes. Educated in 
the best schools of Syria, which had already attained 
a high and well-deserved reputation, Musa early de- 
veloped a precocity of intellect, and a talent for nego- 
tiation, which led to his employment in diplomatic 
affairs of the greatest importance. Under the reign 
of Abd-al-Melik, he was appointed vizier to the gov- 
ernor of Bassora, but having been convicted of pecu- 
lation, he only escaped with his life through the inter- 
cession of his protector Abd-al-Aziz, who also paid for 

158 History of the 

him the fine of one hundred dinars of gold fifty 
times the amount of the theft which the wrath of 
the Khalif had imposed upon the defaulter. Residing 
afterwards at the court of Egypt, and acting as the 
trusted councillor of the viceroy, history is silent as to 
the fields in which he acquired the experience in arms 
that subsequently gained for him such enduring re- 
nown. Of a hardy constitution, inured to hardship, 
plain in his attire, frugal and abstemious in his habits, 
his form presented an example of robust health, 
although he had long since passed the meridian of 
life; and under his locks, whitened by the snows of 
many winters, still smouldered the ardent passions of 
youth, and the powerful incentives of ambition and 
adventure. Sagacious in council, prompt in execution, 
fearless in battle, implacable in revenge, his character 
was, however, tarnished by cruelty, by suspicion, and 
by ingratitude; and he never hesitated to risk the 
sacrifice of power and position, in the gratification 
of the avarice which seemed to dominate his being, 
almost to the exclusion of every other passion. Un- 
rivalled in tact and instinctive knowledge of human 
nature, by his powers of persuasion he made even his 
enemies subservient to his designs; while the strict 
observance of the ceremonies of his religion, although 
he became liable at times to imputations of inconsist- 
ency, yet procured for him in general the reputation 
of profound and sincere piety. In his military opera- 
tions, he displayed the qualities of a skilful and wary 
leader, and his dispositions were made with remark- 
able prudence; realizing the demands of successful 
warfare, he annihilated the power of his adversaries 
by massacre or wholesale captivity ; and by rapid and 
sudden advances after a battle he never failed to secure 
the uncertain fruits of victory. Such was the char- 
acter of the man to whom were now committed the 
destinies of the Moslem armies of the West. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 159 

The veterans who had served under the banner of 
Hassan, who had scaled the walls of Carthage, and 
dispersed the army of the Berber sorceress, looked 
with little favor upon their new commander. Calling 
them together, Musa paid them their arrears three 
times over, and addressing them in a speech in which 
the eloquence of the orator, the humility of the dev- 
otee, and the art of the demagogue were shrewdly 
blended, said: " I am a soldier, like yourselves; ap- 
plaud and imitate my good deeds; censure and re- 
prove my failures, for none of us are free from 
weakness and error." Impressed not only with the 
politic generosity of their chief, but gratified as well 
by the unwonted condescension he displayed, the sol- 
diers greeted him with applause, and he became hence- 
forth the idol of his army. Without unnecessary 
delay, and with his accustomed vigor, he opened the 
campaign. At the very outset an incident occurred 
which not only secured the gratitude of his followers, 
but, in that superstitious age, seemed to invest their 
general with supernatural powers. A long-continued 
drought had dried up the springs and wells, and the 
army, now far advanced into the desert, was threat- 
ened with death by thirst. In the midst of the troops 
solemnly assembled, Musa prayed long and fervently 
for relief. Tradition relates that the supplication was 
almost immediately granted ; and the identical prayer 
which evoked this apparent miracle was repeated for 
nine centuries afterwards by the Spanish Moors when 
their country suffered from a scarcity of rain. The 
Berbers, elated by their former successes, ventured 
upon a pitched battle, and were defeated. Thousands 
were killed; the fugitives who took refuge in the 
mountains, where the natural obstacles of the locality 
made their defences the more formidable, were be- 
sieged and forced to surrender. The policy of Musa, 
different from that of his predecessors, was marked 

160 History of the 

by unusual severity. If resistance was offered, the 
tribe was enslaved, its property confiscated, and its 
villages burnt to the ground ; but, on the other hand, 
a ready submission guaranteed protection and favor, 
and the stoutest warriors were at once enrolled in the 
Moslem ranks. Twelve times already had the Berbers 
professed adherence to Islam, and apostatized; and 
Musa, conscious of their instability, now provided his 
new troops with teachers learned in the Koran, who 
could give them daily instruction in their religious 
duties. Their new associations, the trust reposed in 
them, the separation from their kindred, and the 
boundless prospect of plunder and glory, soon trans- 
formed these unruly bands into a serviceable force, 
capable of the greatest exploits. The seizure of the 
horses, cattle, and sheep, which constituted the wealth 
of the Berbers, compensated the victors, in some de- 
gree, for the absence of the costly booty which had 
rewarded the courage of their brethren in Syria and 
Egypt; while the prodigious number of slaves, re- 
sulting from the depopulation of entire provinces, 
provided a source of wealth whose profits were easily 
realized in the markets of Alexandria and Damascus. 
The royal fifth of the latter reserved by Musa 
amounted to sixty thousand, a number so vast as to 
be incredible, and which caused the Khalif to regard 
the announcement as false when he received it. With 
characteristic munificence, he directed Musa to re- 
imburse himself for the fine which he had formerly 
paid as the penalty for his dishonesty, and, at the 
same time, he granted to him and the most distin- 
guished soldiers of the army pensions commensurate 
with their services. 

The invasion and sack of Medina by the Syrians, 
bent upon retribution for the murder of Othman, had 
caused a great emigration from Arabia, and thousands 
of the descendants of the proudest families of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 161 

Holy Cities had established themselves in Africa, and 
had rendered great aid to the projects of Musa. Their 
incorporation into the armies of Al-Maghreb and 
Iberia sensibly affected the fortunes of the latter 
country, and indirectly led to the restoration of the 
dynasty of the Ommeyades. Four sons of Musa had 
accompanied him in his campaign, and now deputing 
his authority to the two eldest, he despatched them to 
the South and West, where a few remaining Berber 
tribes still asserted their independence. Following 
the example of their father they exterminated such 
tribes as dared to resist, and in a few months re- 
turned to Kairoan, whither Musa had retired with 
considerable spoil and a large number of captives. In 
the mean time, the latter, recognizing the supreme 
importance of naval operations, and treating with 
contempt the absurd prejudice of his countrymen 
whose superstitious dread of the sea amounted at 
times to absolute terror, ordered the refitting of the 
dock -yards and harbors of Carthage, whose substan- 
tial quays had been little impaired by the successive 
calamities which had befallen the city. A hundred 
vessels were built, launched, and manned; Abdallah 
was appointed admiral; the fleet cruised along the 
coast of the Mediterranean, and crossing to Sicily, 
sacked the city of Linosa and returned in triumph 
with a booty of twenty thousand pieces of gold. 
Four years afterwards a descent was made by Ab- 
dallah on the Balearic Isles, and Majorca was, after 
a short campaign, added to the dominions of the 

Their incorrigible duplicity and restlessness, and 
the absence of a competent military force, again 
impelled the tribes of the interior to revolt. Taking 
the field at the head of a picked force, Musa, with 
trifling difficulty, took Tangier, the last fortified post 
held by the Greeks in Al-Maghreb; and sending his 

Vol. I. 11 

162 History of the 

son Merwan with five thousand cavalry against Sus- 
al-Aska, the head -quarters of the insurgents, soon had 
the satisfaction of learning that the rebellion was 
subdued, and the recalcitrant Berbers punished with 
a rigor unexampled even in the sanguinary wars of 
Africa. After making two attempts to capture 
Ceuta, one of the keys of the strait separating Africa 
from Europe, both of which the gallant behavior of 
the governor, Count Julian, rendered ineffectual, 
Musa appointed Tarik-Ibn-Zeyad, a Berber con- 
vert, formerly his slave, and now one of his most 
trusty officers, to the command of Tangier, and re- 
turned to Kairoan. 

With the surrender of Tangier the Byzantine domi- 
nation in Africa came to an end. Sixty years of war- 
fare, the destruction of fleets, the annihilation of 
armies, the devastation of provinces, the enslavement 
of nations, had been required to accomplish this re- 
sult, never for a moment lost sight of by the Mos- 
lems amidst the imbroglios of courts and the revolts 
of pretenders to the Khalifate of Damascus. The 
abnormally perfidious and martial character of the 
Berber placed him outside the category of ordinary 
enemies. No reverses, however severe, could break 
his spirit. He ignored the obligation of treaties. No 
resource remained, therefore, but depopulation. The 
number of slaves made by the Mussulmans in Africa 
excited the amazement of their brethren in the East. 
A successful campaign often yielded two hundred 
thousand of these unfortunates. Such wholesale 
captivity was without precedent even in the annals 
of Rome. The fortresses, with the exception of 
Ceuta, which was nominally a dependency of the 
Visigothic kings of Spain though held by a feeble 
and uncertain tenure were now in the possession of 
the Saracens. 

The Berbers either paid tribute to the Khali f or, 


Moorish Empire in Europe 163 

serving under their own commanders, were enrolled in 
his armies. Already, after the expiration of only two 
generations, during which the laws and customs of 
Mohammedan life can be said to have been estab- 
lished, the momentous effects of polygamy were 
strikingly noticeable. The children of the pagan 
slaves who filled the harems of the conquerors were 
educated in the doctrines of the Koran, and idolatry 
had totally disappeared, save, perhaps, in some 
sequestered valley of the Atlas Mountains, where 
the half -savage devotee bowed before a rude and 
lonely altar, and with mystic incantations invoked 
the aid of some misshapen image. Islam, which, 
even by the reluctant testimony of Christian mis- 
sionaries, exalts the character of the Negro and 
invests him with a sense of personal dignity and 
self-respect which no other religion has been able 
to inspire, soon gained the professed allegiance of 
the Berbers; and like the Arab, the more suspicious 
and clannish they had been in their Age of Ignorance, 
the more patriotic and enterprising they became as 
Mohammedans the very isolation and irreconcilable 
antagonism of their former condition seemed to in- 
sensibly impress them with a realization of the impera- 
tive necessity and paramount value of national union. 
The call to prayer of the muezzin everywhere rang 
out from the towers of pagan temple and Christian 
church, whose magnificent decorations, bestowed by 
penitent Goth and Vandal, had once glittered as 
trophies amidst the splendid pageantry of a Roman 
triumph. But, despite community of interest, ethno- 
logical resemblance, and identity of religious belief, 
the environment of the inhabitants of Africa seems 
to be hostile to the permanent improvement of the 
human species, and before attaining to the highest 
degree of development of which the race is elsewhere 
susceptible, it begins to retrograde. The natural state 

164 History of the 

of this great continent, determined largely by climatic 
and other physical conditions, is essentially and eter- 
nally barbarous. Unlike Europe, which has reaped 
something of value even from its misfortunes, and, 
by the example of its achievements in art and letters, 
subdued its very enemies, the institutions and influ- 
ence of no polished people have ever impressed upon 
the natives of Africa any enduring traces. The 
astounding expansion of the Arab intellect the 
crowning phenomenon of the Middle Ages was as 
transitory in its effects upon them as the thrift and 
refinement of Carthage or the more solid and ma- 
jestic influence of Rome. In some respects resembling 
Asia whose voluptuous idleness tends inevitably to 
physical and mental degeneracy Africa, with its vast 
mineral resources, its unsurpassed facilities for com- 
mercial intercourse, and its inexhaustible agricultural 
wealth, has with the exception of Egypt, whose iso- 
lation rendered it practically a foreign country been 
of little use to its inhabitants, alike incapable of appre- 
ciating these manifold advantages and of systemati- 
cally employing them for their own benefit or for the 
general profit of mankind. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 165 




Origin and Character of the Goths Their Invasion of the Penin- 
sula Power of the Clergy Ecclesiastical Councils The 
Jews The Visigothic Code Profound Wisdom of Its 
Enactments Provisions against Fraud and Injustice Se- 
vere Penalties Its Definition of the Law Condition of 
the Mechanical Arts Architecture Byzantine Influence 
Manufactures Votive Crowns Agriculture Literature 
Medicine Slave Labor Imitation of Roman Customs 
Parallel between the Goths and the Arabs Coincidence of 
Sentiments and Habits Causes of National Decline Per- 
manent Influence of the Gothic Polity. 

Among the countless hordes of barbarians who in 
the third and fourth centuries overran the provinces 
of the Roman Empire, and insulted the majesty of 
the sovereigns of the East, none were so pre-emi- 
nently distinguished for valor, loyalty, generosity, and 
chastity as the Goths. From the third century, when 
the luxurious tastes of Rome impelled adventurous 
traders to penetrate to the shores of the Baltic in 
search of amber, to the establishment of an indepen- 
dent monarchy in Italy by Theodoric in the fifth, their 
name was familiar to Europe now suggestive of a 
bulwark of the tottering throne of Byzantium, and 
again, as a synonym of murder, pillage, and devasta- 
tion. Of towering stature and fierce aspect, their 
forms were cast in the gigantic proportions which 
pagan mythology loved to attribute to its gods and 
heroes. Their habitations were situated in the depths 
of gloomy forests, on the banks of deep and rapid 
streams, or were surrounded by marshes, over whose 

166 History of the 

treacherous and yielding surface a winding pathway 
usually led to a remote and well defended stronghold. 
Like all people whose intellectual development had 
scarcely begun, they believed implicitly in omens, au- 
guries, signs, and dreams; their religious ideas were 
vague and ill defined; and neither history nor tradi- 
tion has preserved for us the appellation or attributes 
of a single Gothic divinity. At their banquets, defiled 
by drunken orgies, and not infrequently the scenes of 
violence and even homicide, were celebrated, in un- 
couth ballads, the exploits of the famous warriors of 
the nation. Their very name, indicative of the supe- 
riority which their prowess never failed to exact, sig- 
nified The Nobly Born. Without literature, save a 
fragmentary translation of the Bible, without govern- 
ment, save the dominion of some chieftain who, covet- 
ous of renown, temporarily enjoyed the precarious 
title of sovereign, eager for change, the most reckless 
of gamesters, the most pitiless of conquerors, destruc- 
tion was with them a passion, and war an amusement. 
In common with other barbarians, with whom the igno- 
rance and fears of the age have confounded them, they 
claimed and exercised, to the utmost, the privileges 
of individual dignity and personal freedom. An 
arbitrary classification, dependent upon a fortuitous 
geographical distribution, had divided this people into 
Ostrogoths and Visigoths, according to their relative 
location upon the eastern and western banks of the 
river Borysthenes. The pressure from the north, 
which had dispersed the tribes of the forests of Ger- 
many and Pannonia over the European provinces of 
the Roman Empire, had induced the Visigoths, by 
necessity or choice, to seek a home in Gaul, which 
country they occupied in common with the Vandals, 
the Suevi, the Alani, and other more obscure, but not 
less formidable, barbarians; and scarcely had the 
division of the empire between Arcadius and Honorius 

Moorish Empire in Europe 167 

been effected in the first years of the fifth century, 
when the inhabitants of Spain, either through treason 
or from the negligence of the garrisons stationed in 
the passes of the Pyrenees, were overwhelmed by a 
deluge of savage marauders. 

For four hundred years, the beautiful, the rich, the 
fertile and densely populated Peninsula had enjoyed 
the inestimable blessings of peace. With the defeat 
and death of the sons of Pompey, the last vestige of 
civil war and intestine discord had disappeared from 
its borders. Its fields were cultivated with assiduous 
care ; its seaports were thronged with the shipping of 
the Mediterranean; the manufacturing interests of 
its inland cities were diversified and important. Its 
people, who had inherited from Rome and Carthage 
that love of pleasure which was at once their boast 
and their disgrace, with Epicurean unconcern, lived 
only for the present, in the participation of all the 
luxury which boundless wealth and national prosper- 
ity could bestow. Upon this earthly paradise with 
its splendid cities, its sumptuous villas, its majestic 
souvenirs of Roman greatness, its traditions of heroic 
achievement and maritime adventure; where Hanni- 
bal had gained his boyhood's laurels, and Caesar, moved 
by the sight of Alexander's statue, had first aspired 
to the dominion of the world now descended the 
brutal and licentious plunderers of the North. The 
excesses perpetrated by them in other provinces of 
the empire were trivial when compared with the 
havoc they committed in Iberia. No considerations 
of public policy, no sentiments of mercy, interposed 
to mitigate the calamities which befell the smiling 
plains of the Anas, the Iberus, and the Baatis. Such 
of the inhabitants as were fortunate enough to find 
an asylum behind the walls of fortified cities, soon 
paid for their temporary security with the pangs of 
famine. The growing crops, delivered to the torch. 

168 History of the 

left to-day a blackened waste where only yesterday 
had been every promise of an abundant harvest. A 
smoky pall, appropriate symbol of destruction, over- 
hung the sites of prosperous hamlets and marble villas, 
where a few smouldering embers alone indicated the 
former abode of taste and opulence. Heaps of 
corpses, denied the rites of sepulture, covered the 
land, which was infested with incredible numbers of 
wolves and birds of prey, attracted from every side 
to their loathsome and inexhaustible repast. A feel- 
ing of utter despair fell upon the survivors; the in- 
stincts of humanity and the feelings of nature were 
suspended or destroyed ; men murdered their families 
and then committed suicide; women devoured their 
offspring; exposure, want, suffering, and anxiety 
produced their inevitable consequences; and the 
crowning misfortune, the pestilence, daily claimed 
its victims by thousands. The savage masters of the 
country, satiated with rapine and mutually jealous 
of power, now began to quarrel with each other. In 
the contests which ensued, almost from the first, the 
superior organization and martial genius of the Goths 
acquired for them the acknowledged supremacy over 
their adversaries a supremacy which soon became 
coextensive with the Peninsula and laid the founda- 
tions of an extensive kingdom. Early in the fifth 
century the extermination, expulsion, or absorption 
by intermarriage, of the various tribes, and the emi- 
gration of the Vandals, in a body, to Africa, gave the 
control of the entire country, with the exception of 
a few seaports still tributary to Constantinople, to 
the Visigoths. In political organization, in nomen- 
clature, in the construction and in the application of 
the maxims of jurisprudence, in the election of their 
rulers, in the punishment of criminals, in the regula- 
tion of their amusements, they observed the traditions 
and honored the observances of their old homes on 

Moorish Empire in Europe 169 

the Vistula and the Baltic. The accident of conver- 
sion, a matter of indifference to the majority of the 
nation, and one, in this instance, partially dependent 
upon policy, had made them Arians, and consequently 
heretics. The Gothic Church, in its independence of 
the See of Rome, while it honored the Supreme Pon- 
tiff, and recognized, to a certain extent, the religious 
supremacy of the Papacy, presented an anomaly in 
the Christian world. The monarch chosen for his 
wisdom or his bravery had not as yet assumed the 
exterior insignia of royalty, and the laws held him 
to a strict accountability for the lives and property 
of his subjects, but in ecclesiastical affairs his au- 
thority was undisputed and supreme. He convoked 
at his pleasure and presided over the national coun- 
cils assemblies originally composed entirely of the 
clergy, and in which, at all times, the theocratical ele- 
ment largely preponderated; he published encyclical 
letters ; he possessed the power of revising the decrees 
of councils before their adoption and promulgation; 
and his wishes and suggestions were received with 
a respect surpassing that usually accorded by his 
haughty vassals to the majesty of the throne. The 
clergy were in fact absolutely dependent upon the 
sovereign; their immunities were subject to his will 
or his caprice; and, far from enjoying the exemption 
they obtained in after times by reason of their sacred 
office and superior sanctity, they were liable to taxa- 
tion, and amenable to punishment for the violation of 
the laws as strictly as were the laity. Not only were 
these restrictions imposed upon them, but the interests 
of the secular portion of the community were care- 
fully guarded against the possible encroachments of 
ecclesiastical tyranny; the judges were particularly 
enjoined to scrutinize the conduct of the priesthood; 
and instances were by no means rare where heavy fines 
were imposed upon them for acts of injustice and 

170 History of the 

for the oppression of their parishioners. From the 
decision of every bishop and metropolitan an appeal 
lay to the throne, a privilege conceded to the meanest 
peasant ; the king could suspend or abrogate the rules 
of ecclesiastical discipline; no canon was valid with- 
out his sanction ; and he assumed the rights of nomi- 
nating, and of translating from one see to another, 
the greatest prelates of the Church. But as assemblies 
of men who possess a monopoly of the learning and 
worldly wisdom of a nation, conscious of mental supe- 
riority and incited by motives of ambition, are never 
satisfied with acting in a subordinate capacity; the 
ecclesiastical councils of Spain almost imperceptibly, 
but none the less surely, began to encroach upon the 
royal prerogative, and, assisted by the weakness or 
gratitude of princes whose titles had been assured by 
their confirmation, aimed at the seizure of absolute 
power. By the institution of the rite of anointing, 
which imparted a sacred character to the monarch, and 
invested in them an implied control over his corona- 
tion a rite first used in Spain and not adopted in 
France till the reign of Pepin, in the eighth century; 
by the framing of laws favorable to their order, and 
whose essential provisions were carefully disguised 
under the specious name of enactments for the public 
welfare; by a command of a majority of the votes 
which elected the sovereign; and lastly, by the con- 
version of the whole nation to the doctrines of the 
orthodox faith; the Gothic clergy advanced un- 
swervingly towards the establishment of their claim 
to political supremacy. The Third Council of Toledo 
was the first of these important convocations in which 
questions relating to the settlement of the constitu- 
tion of the Gothic monarchy were debated and settled. 
From this time until the meeting of the Eighth Coun- 
cil in 653, the palatines did not participate in the 
deliberations of these assemblies, which now began 

Moorish Empire in Europe 171 

to assume the appearance of legislative bodies, in 
which the aims of exclusive ecclesiastical representa- 
tion were already clearly disclosed by the partiality 
and exemptions which characterized the canons treat- 
ing of the rights and privileges of the priesthood. 
After the middle of the seventh century, although 
the nobles were admitted as members of the national 
councils and took part in their discussions, the influ- 
ence of the clergy became paramount, and the duties 
of the nobility were confined to a passive assent to, 
and registration of, their edicts. A separate tribunal 
for the final adjudication of all disputed points of 
doctrine which might incidentally arise in the ordi- 
nary administration of justice was granted to eccle- 
siastics; the latter were prohibited from engaging 
in commerce, which the poverty of the Church had 
formerly rendered necessary; it became customary 
to select bishops for the negotiation of treaties, and 
for the direction of military embassies which were 
invested with the all-important powers of peace and 
war; the councils occasionally claimed jurisdiction 
over secular causes an unwarranted assumption of 
power which the indifference or bigotry of the sov- 
ereign usually failed to resent; and the intolerant 
character of the canons treating of heresy indicate, 
but too plainly, the growing spirit of persecution 
the germ of future inquisitorial atrocities. 

But, notwithstanding the acceptance of Catholicism, 
and the consequent advance towards the enjoyment of 
absolute independence, the Church was hampered by 
many serious restrictions. Bishops, clerks, and monks 
remained subordinate to the secular arm and respon- 
sible to the courts of the realm ; they could not, with 
impunity, disregard their processes, still less defy their 
authority ; and the commission of crime rendered them 
liable to heavy fines and long terms of imprisonment ; 
although, like the nobility, they could not be subjected 

172 History of the 

to the punishments inflicted upon the lower orders, 
such as scourging and branding the latter being con- 
sidered especially infamous. The immunity which 
subsequently attached to the character of the clergy 
as non-combatants was not known to the founders of 
the Gothic monarchy. When a city was besieged or 
the country threatened with invasion, every subject, 
regardless of his profession, was obliged to serve in 
the army, and no ecclesiastic could plead his sacred 
office in bar of military duty to his sovereign, under 
penalty of confiscation and exile; the tonsure was 
regarded as of peculiar significance and sanctity, and 
any one whose locks had once been shorn, or who had 
assumed the clerical habit, was henceforth excluded, 
as a rule, from all military and civil employments, 
and consecrated for life to the service of the cloister; 
a law which, when abused by fraud or ignorance, was 
more than once productive of important results, and 
even of changes in the royal succession. Upon the 
whole, however, the influence of the Church in those 
days of intellectual darkness was highly beneficial. 
Its monopoly of the scanty wisdom of the time was 
often employed for the protection of the oppressed, 
for the alleviation of suffering, for the frustration of 
tyranny, for the consolation of death. The bishop 
stood as a guard between the helpless peasant and 
the unjust judge; his mediation with the throne, 
in cases of flagrant injury, was not optional but 
mandatory; and his official conduct was subject 
to the constant supervision, and was liable to the 
censure, of the magistrate. The ambition and politi- 
cal aspirations of the clergy, joined to their insati- 
able greed of dominion, which increased with each 
successive encroachment upon the civil power, with 
the daily accumulation of wealth, and the acqui- 
sition of extensive estates by gift, extortion, bequest, 
or purchase, disclosed themselves in time in their 

Moorish Empire in Europe 173 

legitimate consequence, religious intolerance. The 
Arian Church in Spain never disgraced its rule by 
persecution for differences of opinion. With the 
acceptance of the orthodox belief in the sixth cen- 
tury, however, the spirit of vindictive malevolence, 
which has always animated and directed the genius 
of Catholicism when in the ascendant, at once in- 
fected the counsels of the ecclesiastical tribunals, 
and indirectly, through their influence and example, 
the decisions of the courts of law. The corona- 
tion oath rendered obligatory the expulsion of all 
heretics without consideration of birth, position, or 
previous service to the state. The Jews, in whom 
were vested the most important offices, and who pos- 
sessed the bulk of the wealth of the kingdom, were 
banished, imprisoned, plundered, or burnt ; and while 
it is true that the severity of the laws against this sect 
defeated, erelong, the object of their enactment, even 
their partial enforcement was the cause of great and 
wide-spread suffering. With the consciousness of 
power came the increase of pomp and the desire for 
prohibited enjoyments and indulgence in carnal pleas- 
ures wholly inconsistent with the observance of the 
vows of poverty and chastity as well as contrary to 
the rules of ecclesiastical discipline. The canons en- 
acted from time to time by the councils, and whose 
provisions were designed to impose restraints upon 
the irregular conduct of the clergy, show, more con- 
clusively than the pages of any chronicle, the lax 
morality and deplorable condition of the religious 
society of that age. Stringent regulations were 
adopted against the acceptance of bribes as the price 
of exemption from persecution especially referring 
to the Jews a proof that the zealous protestations of 
the clerical order could not withstand the pecuniary 
arguments of the astute Hebrew; while the censures 
fulminated against priests and monks who abused the 

174 History of the 

privileges of the confessional, or violated nature in 
the commission of revolting crimes, indicate the secret 
and universal corruption which had already begun to 
pollute the sacred offices of the Church and impair the 
usefulness of its ministers. The Eighteenth Council 
of Toledo, at the dictation of King Witiza, whose 
profligate conduct and contempt for religion had 
aroused the horror of Christendom and provoked 
the anathemas of the Pope, had, with unexampled 
servility, passed laws authorizing the marriage of 
ecclesiastics, the institution of polygamy, and the 
practice of promiscuous concubinage. Under these 
conditions of sacerdotal degradation, sanctioned by 
custom and established by law, the influence of the 
Church was everywhere diminished ; the faith of men 
in the existing religion was weakened ; and the public 
mind was insensibly prepared for the new revelation 
which, appealing to the strongest passions of the 
human breast, stripped of metaphysical distinctions, 
and inculcating moral precepts such as the most 
skeptical and dissolute must applaud, was soon to 
be published to the discontented and priest-ridden 
subjects of the Gothic empire. The ill-defined powers 
of the Crown and the Mitre, at first reciprocally 
dependent, led eventually to a clashing of interests 
and a struggle for precedence between the royal and 
the sacerdotal authority, in which the clergy, though 
their aspirations were occasionally checked by some 
monarch of stern and decided character, in the end 
invariably obtained the advantage. The dependence 
of the sovereign upon the priesthood was never lost 
sight of. No occasion which might remind him of 
the obligation he owed to the order whose suffrages 
had conferred, and might, with equal facility, resume 
possession of his crown, was suffered to pass unim- 
proved. The anointing with holy oil, which sym- 
bolized the right of divine consecration, had already 

Moorish Empire in Europe 175 

forged another link in the chain which bound the 
king to the Church. The anathemas denounced upon 
a prince for failure to execute the laws against here- 
tics, far exceeded in virulence those to which any 
subject was liable. At one time, the wishes of the 
sovereign were anticipated by the subserviency of the 
prelates ; at another, his prerogative was invaded and 
his commands disobeyed with an arrogance worthy of 
the imperious spirit of Julius II. or of Gregory the 
Great. The populace, through ignorance, prejudice, 
and habit, blindly devoted to the sacerdotal order, 
furnished a formidable body of auxiliaries, ever 
ready to hearken to the appeals of their ghostly ad- 
visers, a force which the dignity and assurance of the 
haughtiest ruler could not with impunity disregard. 
The turbulent and illiterate nobility, although the king 
was selected from their number by the voices of the 
assembled bishops in which ceremony the concurrence 
of the palatines was admitted, in reality, only through 
courtesy possessed, in the practical application of 
the precepts of the Gothic constitution, scarcely the 
shadow, still less the substance, of power. The 
council was the embodiment and representative of 
the intellect and the collective wisdom of the nation. 
Its canons were, for the most part, framed in strict 
accordance with the principles of equity, and the de- 
liberations and conclusions of its sessions were often 
characterized by a breadth of understanding and a 
degree of impartiality which clearly indicated that 
its members were not deficient in the knowledge and 
requirements of enlightened statesmanship. The re- 
sults of their labors are contained in the Gothic Code, 
a body of laws remarkable in many respects, when we 
consider the general illiteracy and ignorance of the 
age in which it was compiled, and its transcendent im- 
portance as the prototype of the systems of jurispru- 
dence which now regulate the civil and criminal pro- 

176 History of the 

cedure of the courts of Europe and America. In the 
extraordinary minuteness of its details, in its thorough 
and comprehensive treatment of the manifold trans- 
actions of daily life, and in its provisions for almost 
every contingency which could arise in the administra- 
tion of the sovereigns under whose auspices it was 
framed, this extraordinary work presents the modern 
legislator with a subject eminently worthy of his 
attention and study. The contact with races which 
had long enjoyed the blessings of civilization, and the 
development of the intellectual faculties consequent 
upon the experience obtained in frequent expeditions 
and protracted campaigns, imperceptibly modified the 
ancient laws of the Goths ; the very essence of which 
was, from the first, and long continued to be, the asser- 
tion of the principle of personal liberty. Rome, whose 
toleration of the religious prejudices and customs of 
the nations subjected to her dominion so long as they 
did not conflict with her interests or contravene her 
authority was one great secret of her power, had, in 
accordance with that policy, indulged the Iberians in 
the use of their own laws, and only those who enjoyed 
the privileges of citizenship could be summoned before 
the tribunal of the imperial magistrate. The incur- 
sions of the barbarians had abolished every restraint, 
and transformed the previous quiet and peaceful con- 
dition of the Peninsula into a state of anarchy. There 
was then no law but the will of the chieftain, who was 
inclined to encourage, rather than to repress, the ex- 
cesses of a brutalized soldiery. All records and muni- 
ments of title had disappeared ; boundaries had ceased 
to exist; the tenure of lands was entirely dependent 
upon the numerical strength of the claimants; and 
when the fields of one district were exhausted, the dis- 
contented settlers sought a new residence in another 
locality, whose wealth had excited their avarice, and 
the inferior military resources of whose occupants 

Moorish Empire in Europe 177 

rendered the retention of their possessions uncertain. 
The cessation of hostilities was always accompanied 
with the plunder and impoverishment of the van- 
quished ; no treaty was valid, because no moral obliga- 
tion, or superior power by which it could be enforced, 
existed; every vice was committed with impunity; 
every grudge was satisfied with all the abuse of un- 
restricted license; the caprice of the military com- 
mander had supplanted the precedents of the prastor, 
and the sword had become the only acknowledged 
arbiter of every controversy. 

During the reign of Euric, in the year 479, was 
codified and published the first book of Gothic law, 
the basis of the subsequent complex and exhaustive 
system of jurisprudence which increased in size, and 
gathered reverence and authority with the reign of 
each succeeding sovereign. It was known as the 
Forum Judicum, or the Book of Judges, and consisted 
mainly of a compilation of the rules applicable to the 
various customs and ordeals, which had been approved 
by time and experience as beneficial in the administra- 
tion of the government of the Gothic nation, combined 
with such maxims of Roman law as had gradually been 
absorbed through frequent association with the courts 
and magistrates of the empire. The new rights and 
duties arising from the acceptance by the Goths of the 
orthodox belief in the latter half of the sixth century, 
necessitated a revision of the existing laws and the 
formulation of another code of far more extensive 
scope than the one which already existed. By certain 
provisions of the former the constitution of the Iberian 
church was definitely established and the predomi- 
nance of the clergy in secular matters assured ; meas- 
ures of portentous significance, whose evil effects upon 
the intelligence and prosperity of the Spanish people 
are discernible even in our day. From the date of its 
adoption and promulgation, the inhabitants of the 

Vol. I. 12 

178 History of the 

Peninsula were, without exception, declared subject to 
its statutes. From this time dates the absolute su- 
premacy of the Church in the Peninsula. The hold 
which it then obtained upon temporal affairs it has 
never relaxed. The awful consequences of that su- 
premacy upon all classes and conditions of men owing 
allegiance to the Spanish crown are familiar to every 
reader of history. 

The Visigothic Code exhibited, in the restrictions 
it imposed upon the royal prerogative, that spirit of 
jealous independence always conspicuous in the char- 
acter of the German warrior, and which had been pre- 
served through many centuries by the importance that 
distinguished the privileged orders under an elective 
monarchy. The king, who, at first, had been liable to 
censure and judgment by his subjects, was informed, 
when invested with his office, that even its dignity 
could not exempt him from the obligation to observe 
the law, a principle of justice and equality which he 
shared with every resident in his dominions. The au- 
thority of the turbulent and illiterate nobles, who, with 
all the arrogance of power, did not hesitate to threaten 
and insult the creature of their choice, was curbed in 
time by the potent yet gentle influence of the clergy, 
whose learning and talents at first swayed, and finally 
absolutely controlled, the deliberations of the National 
Councils. The high rank of the prelates, their supe- 
rior accomplishments in an age of universal ignorance, 
and their claims as members of an independent hie- 
rarchy, which even the Supreme Pontiff himself 
scarcely ventured to contradict, in the end communi- 
cated to the Visigothic constitution all the worst 
characteristics of an irresponsible and intolerant theoc- 

The Forum Judicum consists of twelve books, which 
not only define the rights of the different classes of 
society, but prescribe at length, and in copious detail, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 179 

the mode of procedure to be followed in the various 
tribunals. Every precaution which ingenuity could 
devise was adopted to insure the fidelity, the honesty, 
and the impartiality of the magistrate, whether of the 
civil or the ecclesiastical order. It was the dutv of the 
judge to observe and report upon the decisions of the 
bishop and the priest, while, on the other hand, the 
higher clergy possessed, under certain contingencies, 
the power of examining causes and rendering judg- 
ment when the proper official had refused or neglected 
to exercise his judicial functions, and the interests of 
either of the parties litigant were exposed to injury in 
consequence. The courts were open from dawn to 
dark, and the period of vacation and the hours of rest 
were strictly regulated by law. The trial of causes 
could not be delayed except for valid reasons; the 
speedy rendition of judgment was compulsory; the 
procrastination, injustice, or corruption of the judge 
was punished by a fine amounting to double the loss 
incurred, and when the circumstances were peculiarly 
aggravating his property was confiscated and he was 
publicly sold as a slave. No person, however indigent, 
was debarred, for that reason, from the benefits of 
justice, and a fund was set apart in every town for 
the support of impecunious litigants, which was dis- 
bursed by the municipal government with the approval 
of the bishop. An appeal from the decisions of the 
inferior tribunals was granted as a matter of unques- 
tionable right, and the slightest suspicion of interfer- 
ence by the throne in the proceedings rendered them 
invalid and worthless. The ceremonies relating to the 
administration of the law were characterized by great 
simplicity, and the pleadings were divested of un- 
necessary verbiage. The highest reverence for the 
officers of the crown was inculcated and enforced ; and 
a resort to litigation was persistently discouraged by 
public opinion, excepting where it was imperatively 

180 History of the 

demanded by the interests of justice. In the rules of 
evidence, as well as in their application, traces of the 
deeply rooted superstitions of the Teutonic barbarians 
still remained. The ordeals of fire and water were 
not infrequently adopted. The wager of battle could 
not be refused, without ignominy; and the oaths of 
compurgators were, at times, invoked to restore the 
lustre of some tarnished escutcheon, or to remove the 
stain attaching to a suspected violation of female 
honor. Torture was allowed, but excessive severity in 
its application was prohibited, and, in case of death 
or permanent injury resulting from its abuse, the 
judge was liable to forfeiture both of his possessions 
and his liberty. In determining the competency of 
testimony, an unwise and unjust discrimination was 
made against the poor, through the unwarrantable pre- 
sumption of temptation to bribery, and this exclusion 
also applied to Jews even though apostates as well 
as to their descendants, and to slaves. The crime of 
perjury was mentioned with horror; its commission 
was deemed worthy of the severest punishment; and 
the false witness, visited with public execration, was 
condemned to life-long servitude. In general, the 
criminal code of the Visigoths was conspicuous for 
the moderation with which it treated offenders against 
the public peace. The penalty of death was rarely in- 
flicted, and was confined to cases of arson, rape, and 
murder. A regular schedule of minor crimes and 
their punishments existed; the severity of the latter 
depending upon the social rank and political impor- 
tance of the individual. In flagrant instances of 
malicious prosecution, bribery of public officers, or 
abuse of political power, the culprit became the slave 
of the injured party, with the sole limitation to his 
resentment, that the life of his former oppressor 
should be spared. Rebellion was punished by banish- 
ment ; infanticide by blinding ; and the counterfeiter, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 181 

or the forger of a royal edict, suffered the loss of the 
right hand. When the atrocious nature of an offence 
against morals demanded a penalty of corresponding 
infamy, the head of the criminal was shaved and 
branded, marking him for life as a social outcast, to 
be forever an object of public abhorrence. Scourging 
was the penalty of most universal application, and 
even a freeman, however exalted his station, was not 
exempt from its infliction, if he ventured to provoke 
the vengeance of retributive justice, and was not pos- 
sessed of the stated fine which was the legal equivalent 
of the lash. The right of asylum, a privilege whose 
importance as a salutary check upon the passions of 
a fierce and tyrannical nobility, in an age of violence, 
is with difficulty appreciated in modern times, was 
recognized by the Gothic constitution; and no sup- 
pliant, who had sought protection at the foot of the 
altar, could be removed without the consent of the 
proper ecclesiastical authority. In the provisions 
which define the civil relations of society, the Forum 
Judicum recalls to every one conversant with the Com- 
mentaries of Blackstone, the familiar maxims and 
precedents of the Common Law of England. The 
different grades of relationship, and the rights of 
inheritance in the ascending and descending lines, were 
treated of exhaustively in the books of the Visigothic 
Code. In the protection of the interests of children 
its sections displayed a paternal and anxious care. No 
child could be disinherited unless it had been guilty 
of some aggravated act of violence towards its parent. 
In all questions relating to the descent of property, 
no preference was accorded to sex, and the female 
remained on the same footing as the male. A minor 
of ten years could, without restriction, dispose of his 
or her possessions by will. Guardians were appointed 
by the courts, who were required to observe the condi- 
tions of their trust, and to render accounts of the 

182 History of the 

funds which passed through their hands; and the 
power of appointing a guardian ad litem was fre- 
quently exercised, where the affairs of a minor neces- 
sitated the institution or the defence of a suit at law. 
The boundless control of the father over the child, 
which formed so prominent a feature in the domestic 
regulations of Rome, was repugnant to the indepen- 
dent spirit of the Goths; the parental duties and 
responsibilities were expressly defined; the son who 
resided with his father was entitled to two-thirds of 
his earnings; and the courts exercised unremitting 
and vigilant supervision over the persons and estates 
of minors and orphans. A reminiscence of the ancient 
custom of marriage by purchase survived in the price 
paid by the bridegroom to the relatives of the bride; 
all clandestine alliances were considered invalid; a 
woman could sue, and be sued, without joining with 
her husband; and no responsibility attached to either 
for the illegal acts of the other. Integrity of descent 
and purity of blood were preserved by laws of excep- 
tional severity ; a free-born female who abandoned her 
person to, or even contracted marriage with, a slave 
was scourged and burnt with her unfortunate para- 
mour or spouse. A wife who had incurred the guilt 
of adultery was delivered over absolutely to the tender 
mercies of the injured husband. This offence, which 
evoked ordinarily the strongest denunciation from the 
descendants of the cold and sluggish barbarians of the 
Baltic, was, however, in an ecclesiastic rather repro- 
bated as an amiable weakness than condemned as a 
crime; an indulgence to be attributed partly to the 
predominant and sympathetic caste of the legislature, 
and partly to an appreciation of the opportunities and 
temptations which beset the father-confessor, who, 
after conviction, was immured in some comfortable 
monastery until he professed penitence and received 

Moorish Empire in Europe 183 

The conditions of vassalage and serfdom, as under- 
stood and practised elsewhere in Europe, and espe- 
cially in Germany, were foreign to the polity of the 
Visigoths. Feudalism, with its mutual rights and 
obligations as subsequently known to Europe, strictly 
speaking, did not exist. The relations affecting the 
status of lord and vassal were, to some extent, bor- 
rowed from the Roman system and modelled upon 
those of patron and client. The sections relating to 
the conditions of servitude were minute and volu- 
minous. The master had generally unrestricted power 
over the life of his slave. He who aided the escape of 
the latter was legally responsible for his value. Rec- 
ognizing the peculiar facilities for criminal inter- 
course, and the corresponding difficulty of its detec- 
tion, the law sentenced the servile adulterer to the 
stake. While the most liberal encouragement was 
given to the manumission of slaves, the numbers of 
this unfortunate class were constantly increasing, by 
the capture of prisoners of war, by the degradation 
of dishonest officials, by the submission of debtors, and 
by the conviction of criminals. Every slave belonged 
to a certain rank, and castigation for petty delin- 
quencies, as well as punishment for serious crimes, 
was inflicted with more or less rigor, according to the 
cause of his servitude, his industrial ability, and the 
social condition of his owner, whether he was born, 
purchased, or condemned; whether he was a skilful 
artisan or mechanic, or an ordinary laborer ; or whether 
he was the property of the Crown, of the Church, or 
of an individual. The influence of the Visigoths did 
much to lighten the burdens of slavery; the bloody 
spectacles of the gladiatorial contests possessed no 
allurements for a nation not degraded by cowardice 
and cruelty ; the treatment of bondmen was, in some 
localities, so softened and modified that scarcely more 
than the name of hereditary servitude existed; and in 

184 History of the 

cases of intolerable oppression, where the slave took 
refuge in the sanctuary, the master could be compelled 
to dispose of him to some one more actuated by feel- 
ings of kindness and pity. 

The precepts of the Forum Judicum which relate to 
bailments, to strays, to trespass, to accessories before 
and after the fact, to the obstruction of highways, to 
malicious mischief, to the attestation of documents, 
and to contracts made under duress, are substantially 
the same as those set forth in our law-books of to-day. 
A statute of limitations, which recognized a period 
varying from thirty to fifty years, beyond which even 
some criminal prosecutions could not be instituted, 
was in force. The legislation pertaining to agricul- 
ture, irrigation, and the boundaries of land was par- 
ticularly complete and exhaustive. Security was ob- 
tained by bonds and pledges ; inventories were required 
of guardians; and the culprit who was guilty of 
slander was not only responsible in damages for his 
intemperate language, but was also often liable to 
corporeal punishment; as, for instance, if he called 
another a " Saracen," or even insinuated that he had 
been circumcised, he might consider himself fortunate 
if he did not receive fifty lashes at the hands of the 
common executioner. 

Considering the general condition of society, the 
antecedents of a nation whose energies had hitherto 
been directed to the overthrow of every institution 
which secured the perpetuity of peace and order, the 
previous slender opportunities of its authors, and the 
limited educational facilities at their command, the 
Code of the Visigoths presents us with a system of 
legislation of extraordinary interest and value. So 
remarkable is this body of jurisprudence in the wis- 
dom, foresight, humanity, and knowledge of man- 
kind which characterize its leading maxims, that they 
almost seem to have been suggested by divine inspira- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 185 

tion. Its first statutes appeared when the compre- 
hensive system of Justinian, which had enlisted the 
talents and exhausted the erudition of the most accom- 
plished jurists of the Eastern Empire, was nearly per- 
fected. It borrowed but little, however, from the 
learning of Tribonian and the laborious ingenuity 
of his seventeen coadjutors. The eternal principles 
of justice, it is true, are equally the basis of both of 
these collections; but their construction and the 
methods of their application, under similar conditions, 
are widely different; and the superiority, upon the 
whole, is largely on the side of the so-called barbarian. 
In the majority of instances, excepting where eccle- 
siastical ambition and monastic prejudice perverted 
the ends of legislation, the laws of the Visigoths were 
uniformly framed for the protection of the weak, the 
relief of the oppressed, and the general welfare of 
society. Unlike the practice of more civilized nations 
in comparatively recent times, the judicature of the 
former confined its penalties to the personality of the 
offender, and imposed no disabilities, either by for- 
feiture or attainder, upon his innocent relatives and 
descendants. It restrained the tyranny of the mon- 
arch; it defined with conciseness and accuracy the 
rights of the subject; it accorded unprecedented 
concessions to the widow and the orphan ; it respected 
the unfortunate and helpless condition of the slave. 
It prohibited encroachments upon personal liberty, 
and declared the sale of a freeman to be equivalent in 
atrocity to the crime of homicide. In almost every 
provision which did not conflict with the claims of the 
priesthood, it hearkened to the voice of mercy and hu- 
manity. By the constant menace and certain infliction 
of civil degradation, confiscation, and perpetual servi- 
tude, it secured the fidelity of the judges and fiscal 
officers of the state. It accepted the great principle 
of the Salic law, and, with worldly prudence, forbade 

186 History or the 

the election of a female sovereign. But, when the 
theocratic influence which pervaded every branch of 
the Gothic constitution comes to be examined, its 
effect upon contemporaneous legislation is seen to 
be pernicious and deplorable. The power of the 
clergy was irresponsible, ubiquitous, and thoroughly 
despotic. It dictated the proceedings of every as- 
sembly. It whispered suggestions of questionable 
morality in the ears of the monarch. When thwarted 
in its unholy aims, its vengeance was implacable. The 
abuse of the convenient and formidable weapon of 
excommunication had not reached the extreme which 
it subsequently attained, yet the all but omnipotent 
hand of the priesthood was already able to invade the 
privacy of domestic life, to interfere with the sensi- 
tive and delicate mechanism of commerce, to violate 
the rights of property, to desecrate the sacred pre- 
cincts of the grave. Ecclesiastical intolerance dictated 
the passage of ex-post-facto laws, a measure whose 
monstrous injustice is patent to every unprejudiced 
mind. The disability imposed upon the Hebrew race, 
and the savage spirit of the canons enacted for its 
oppression, point significantly to the prospective hor- 
rors of the inquisitorial tribunals. The practice of 
sorcery and magic so dreaded in an age of intel- 
lectual inferiority, and especially offensive to the 
Church, which tolerated no wonder-workers outside 
of its own pale was severely reprobated, and pun- 
ished with excessive severity. The ends of the clergy, 
when not obtainable by the arts of controversy, were 
secured by other means not unfamiliar to the in- 
triguing courtiers of mediaeval Europe; its proposi- 
tions were advanced with caution and debated with 
consummate skill; and its arguments were either in- 
sinuated with more than Jesuitical adroitness, or urged 
with all the energy of sacerdotal zeal. 

In its respectable antiquity ; in the sublime morality 

Moorish Empire in Europe 187 

inculcated by its precepts ; in the obligations incurred 
by every nation which has drawn upon its accumulated 
stores of wisdom; in its freedom from the dishonor- 
able expedients of legal chicanery; in the simplicity 
of its procedure ; in the certainty and celerity required 
by the practice of the tribunals where its authority 
was acknowledged ; in the inflexible impartiality with 
which it invested the decisions of those tribunals; in 
its well-founded title to public confidence; the Visi- 
gothic Code is without parallel in the annals of juris- 
prudence. But great as are its claims upon the grati- 
tude and reverence of the jurist and the legislator, 
they are scarcely comparable to the indebtedness im- 
posed upon the historian. The meagre information to 
be gleaned from the works of native chroniclers is, in 
great measure, thoroughly unreliable. The literature 
of the age, scanty in itself, consists mainly of the 
recital of ecclesiastical fables, the martyrdom of 
legendary saints, the discovery of spurious relics, the 
averting of calamities by invocation and miracle, and 
trivial incidents in the lives of holy men and women, 
whose preternatural gifts the indulgent credulity of 
their biographers has handed down to the contempt 
and ridicule of posterity. The pages destined for such 
records were too precious to be defiled by the accounts 
of wars and insurrections and the interesting descrip- 
tions of mediaeval society. The diligence of the com- 
pilers of the Forum Judicum has, however, largely 
supplied the deficiencies of the monkish annalists. In 
their various civil and prohibitory enactments, they 
have unconsciously delineated the follies, the vices, the 
superstitions, and the crimes of the age. The penalties 
imposed for the violation of statutes denote infallibly 
the barbarian origin of those who formulated them. 
The law of retaliation tolerated only among the low- 
est races of men occurs repeatedly among the provi- 
sions of the Visigothic Code. The deterrent effect of 

188 History of the 

criminal legislation was almost always subordinated 
to considerations of vengeance. The magistrate was 
regarded as the vindicator of wrong, rather than the 
calm representative of judicial dignity and the im- 
partial interpreter of the laws. Scalping, maiming, 
blinding, scourging, branding, emasculation, were 
punishments prescribed without discrimination, for 
offences varying widely in the nature and degree of 
misconduct and criminality. The period of transition 
which separated the barbaric rudeness of Adolphus 
and the effeminate luxury of Roderick is traceable, 
step by step, in the progressive legislation of centuries. 
The rise and consolidation of ecclesiastical power ; the 
limitation of the royal prerogative ; the decline of the 
insolent pretensions of the nobility; the elevation of 
the peasant from the position of a beast of burden to 
a self-respecting being, who, however steeped in igno- 
rance he might be, was always sure of an impartial 
hearing before the magistrate; are there related with 
all the fidelity and minuteness of a chronicle. There 
too are depicted the sources of that inspiration which 
animated and sustained the sinking hopes of the 
founders of the Spanish monarchy, from its organiza- 
tion as a little principality in the Asturias, down 
through the turbulent era of Moorish domination, 
until it attained the summit of greatness as the dic- 
tator of Europe and the arbiter of Christendom. 
These are the general characteristics of that incom- 
parable monument of jurisprudence whose noble 
conceptions of the ends of legislation are best ex- 
pressed in its own concise and energetic language : 

" The law is the rival of divinity, the messenger of 
justice, and the guide of life. It dominates all classes 
of the state, and all ages of humanity, male and 
female, the young and the old, the wise and the igno- 
rant, the noble and the peasant. It is not designed 
for the promotion of private aims, but to shelter and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 189 

protect the general interests of all. It must adjust 
itself to time and place, according to the condition of 
affairs and the customs of the realm, and confine itself 
to exact and equitable rules so as not to lay snares 
for any citizen." 

Lost in the confusion attending the Conquest, the 
Forum Judicum was carefully preserved by the Moors 
for the benefit of future generations; and, recovered 
when the Moslem capital was taken by St. Ferdinand, 
it was subsequently translated into Castilian. 

Among the nations composing the heterogeneous 
population of Spain, the most important in intelli- 
gence, wealth, commercial activity, and talent for 
administration, in ancient times, were the Jews. 
Classed with the first colonists of the Peninsula, 
the earliest mention of Iberia by the Greek and 
Roman historians represents the Jewish population 
as already rich and prosperous. If we consider their 
intimate relations, kindred interests, alliances by mar- 
riage, and common inclination for traffic, with their 
Tyrian neighbors, it is not improbable that the settle- 
ment of the Hebrew in Bastica was coincident with 
that of the Phoenicians. The first National Council 
that assembled at Illiberis in 325 the same year in 
which were determined the principles of orthodox 
Christianity as set forth in the Nicene creed inaugu- 
rated the long and bloody persecution which finally 
culminated in the wholesale expulsion of the unfortu- 
nate race by Philip V. By the canons of this council, 
the blessings of the rabbi, to which the husbandman 
seemed to attach a virtue and an importance equal if 
not superior to those presumed to attend the bene- 
diction of the priest, and which custom from time 
immemorial had invoked upon the growing crops, was 
declared an offence against religion, punishable by 
summary expulsion from the Church. The morose 
spirit of ecclesiastical bigotry did not hesitate to 

190 History of the 

violate the rites of hospitality and cast a shadow over 
the amenities of social life. With an exquisite refine- 
ment of malice, it pronounced subject to excommuni- 
cation all who, even in cases of charity or under cir- 
cumstances of the most urgent necessity, shared their 
food with a Jew. The passive submission of the en- 
tire race to the barbarian invader procured, however, 
for its members, in many instances, a degree of con- 
sideration not enjoyed by their Christian neighbors. 
With their natural talents for business, their capacity 
for intrigue, and, above all, their superior knowledge 
of mankind, they were not long in securing the con- 
fidence of the conquerors. Under the Arian sover- 
eigns, their religious opinions remained for genera- 
tions unquestioned, and their worship unmolested. 
But hardly had the nation renounced its ancient 
communion, before the disturbing spirit of the new 
hierarchy began to assert itself. The edict of Sisebut, 
in 612, published the decrees of the Third Council of 
Toledo which had been drawn up for the pious pur- 
pose of " eradicating the perfidy of the Jews," whose 
general prosperity and political power had aroused 
the apprehensions of the priesthood. From this era 
until the accession of Roderick in 709, the legislation 
of the councils relating to the Jews presents the 
extremes of brutal harshness and occasional liberal 
indulgence. In all these enactments, however, the 
offensive qualities of injustice and malevolence 
largely preponderated. The aggressiveness of 
Catholicism demanded instant and uncompromising 
submission to its creed. What was at first attempted 
by the imposition of civil disabilities was soon after 
exacted by degrading insults, by torture, by slavery, 
and by death. Such was the unrelenting ferocity of 
this persecution that it awakened at times the indig- 
nation even of a semi-barbarous and fanatical age. 
But despite continuous and systematic repression, this 

Moorish Empire in Europe 191 

maligned and down-trodden race prospered; the for- 
bearance of royal and ecclesiastical inquisitors was 
purchased, and the clamors of furious zealots were 
silenced by opportune contributions to the monastic 
orders; for the services of the most capable diplo- 
matists and financiers of the time could not be dis- 
pensed with in a society where even a large portion 
of those who devised measures for their oppression 
could neither read nor write. The superiority of the 
Jews was also indicated by the prices they commanded 
when their liberty had been forfeited by law. While 
slaves of other nationalities ranked as ' bestias de 
cuatro pies," and were purchasable upon the same 
terms as a horse or an ox, the Jew was worth a thou- 
sand crowns. The great possessions of the Gothic 
nobles, which the universal illiteracy of the latter 
made them incompetent to manage, rendered the 
shrewd and accomplished Hebrew a necessary steward. 
He enjoyed the confidence of the monarch. He ad- 
ministered the royal revenues, always with discern- 
ment and in most instances with fidelity. His advice 
was eagerly solicited in exigencies of national impor- 
tance, and in the crooked arts of diplomacy he proved 
more than a match for the ablest negotiators of the 
age. His wealth, his political and social influence, 
which he preserved in defiance of civil disabilities and 
ecclesiastical malice, his scholastic attainments, the 
elegance of his manners when contrasted with Teu- 
tonic rudeness; all of these qualities ingratiated him 
into the favor of the palatines, by whom he was often 
treated with the consideration deserved by a friend, 
rather than with the abhorrence due to an outcast. 

The political organization and legal privileges which 
the Jews possessed in the early days of the Visigothic 
monarchy magnified their importance, increased their 
wealth, and fostered their spirit of exclusiveness. The 
latter feeling was also strengthened by the policy of 

192 History of the 

separation which it was deemed expedient to adopt, 
during the Middle Ages, in Christian communities, 
towards the Hebrew race. For a considerable period 
of the Gothic dominion, the Jews were confined to a 
certain quarter of every city and village, over which 
magistrates of their own blood exercised both civil and 
criminal functions, unrestricted, save in questions that 
affected the national faith or where personal injury 
had been inflicted upon a Christian. The jurisdiction 
of each provincial assembly was rigidly subordinated 
to the supreme authority of the central synagogue. 
The territory beyond the limits of the town which 
was often entirely Jewish was subject to the control 
of a governor who was responsible only to the sover- 
eign. At one time the Jews controlled the most im- 
portant landed interests of the kingdom. The preju- 
dice attaching to payments for the use of money did 
not deter the Hebrew banker from the practice of 
usury, although the legal rate of thirty -three per cent, 
certainly offered sufficient inducements to abstain 
from the violation of the law which he either secretly 
evaded or openly defied. 

The activity displayed by the Jews of the Peninsula 
in every department of science, literature, government, 
commerce, agriculture, and finance was incessant and 
indefatigable. No contemporaneous people could 
boast, in proportion to their numbers, so many men 
of genius and erudition. Their influence was so 
extensive that it was acknowledged alike in the hovel 
of the peasant and in the council chamber of the king. 
Their powerful individuality survived the cruel impo- 
sitions which repressed their enterprise, but could not 
damp their ardor; and the patriotism which attached 
them to a country in which they were only tolerated 
as exiles, was sufficient to induce their descendants to 
heartily aid, by every means in their power, the famous 
princes and warriors whose capacity and resolution 

Moorish Empire in Europe 193 

supported, amidst continuous disaster and defeat, the 
doubtful fortunes of the struggling monarchy of 

In their application to the mechanical arts, and in 
their development of architecture, the Visigoths dis- 
closed rather an imitative faculty than a spirit of 
marked originality. What is known to us as the 
Gothic style owes nothing to that nation to which 
popular belief has ascribed its invention, and, in fact, 
was not introduced into Spain until the thirteenth 
century. The name has been arbitrarily given it to 
distinguish the pointed arch its principal character- 
istic from the rounded one peculiar to the edifices of 
Rome. The rude and primitive structures of the 
German forests, constructed of logs, stained with 
mud, and designed solely for purposes of shelter and 
defence, could neither suggest nor transmit traditions 
of architectural elegance and beauty. The sight of 
the noble memorials of Roman genius which had 
escaped the destructive impulses of the predatory 
barbarian, erelong inspired the uncouth conqueror 
with the spirit of emulation. In the Iberian Penin- 
sula these vast and splendid structures abounded. 
The walls which once encompassed the seats of its 
proconsul; the fanes from whence had arisen the 
incense to its gods; the colonnades which adorned its 
capitals; the aqueducts rising to prodigious heights, 
and surmounting difficulties which would have per- 
plexed any engineer save a Roman, were worthy of 
one of the richest provinces of the empire. From 
such models the Visigothic architect, wholly destitute 
of experience, yet animated by the desire of imitating 
an excellence which had awakened his admiration, de- 
signed the palace and the basilica. The wealth which, 
from the earliest times, Spain has lavished upon her 
children, furnished the means, while the religious 
spirit which pervaded every class of society afforded 

Vol. I. 13 

194 History of the 

the incentive, for public display and private munifi- 
cence. An innumerable body of slaves and depend- 
ents, available at a moment's notice, facilitated the 
rapid construction of edifices of the largest propor- 
tions. Churches grand in dimensions and barbaric in 
decoration were erected by priests, abbots, and pri- 
vate individuals, whose generosity was commensurate 
with their devotion. Before the shrines of these 
temples were deposited vases, reliquaries, diptychs, 
crosses, of precious materials and curiously intricate 
patterns. The religious enthusiasm of the Gothic 
princes, mingled perhaps with a certain share of 
worldly ambition, impelled them to a generous 
rivalry, and nourished in the bosom of each the 
desire to surpass his predecessor in liberality to the 
Church. Hence the various temples were, under 
each successive reign, enriched with royal gifts of 
inestimable value and ostentatious magnificence. 
Sacramental tables of gold studded with emeralds, 
diamonds, and sapphires, whose wondrous beauty 
and richness Saracen tradition has transmitted to 
posterity, with monstrances and ciboria of ingeni- 
ous design and encrusted with jewels, formed a 
portion of the pious donations of the sovereigns of 
the Goths. The influence of the arts and taste of 
Byzantium, communicated through the channels of 
commerce, the interchange of civilities, and the 
frequent intercourse between the courts of Con- 
stantinople and Toledo, appears in the mural orna- 
mentation of the temples and in the vessels of 
their shrines, as well as in the habitations, utensils, 
and trinkets of the people. Geometric forms and 
floral designs afterwards so popular among the 
Moors, who unquestionably derived them largely 
from this source were almost exclusively employed 
by the Gothic goldsmiths and architects. Vines, 
leaves, buds, and quatre foils enter into almost every 

Moorish Empire in Europe 195 

combination in great variety and with charming effect. 
The churches were dimly lighted by means of marble 
slabs pierced with intersecting cruciform apertures, 
which increased the mystery and awe of the interior, 
devices which are visible to-day in places of worship 
as widely separated and of as originally diverse char- 
acter as the chapels of the Asturias and the Mosque 
of Cordova. As soon as the rage and hatred inspired 
by the resistance of their enemies and which was 
wreaked upon the edifices of the latter with hardly 
less vindictiveness than upon the ranks of their legions 
had been allayed, a desire to profit by the skill and 
experience of their Roman subjects became para- 
mount; new structures of simple design and en- 
during materials arose in the cities; the ancient 
monuments were spared; and the superior state of 
preservation which distinguishes the Roman remains 
in the Peninsula affords incontrovertible evidence of 
the enlightened appreciation of the Visigoths. 

In the encouragement of the useful and elegant 
arts, the Visigoths displayed an enterprising spirit 
considerably in advance of the other branches of the 
great Teutonic nation. Manufactures of clothing, 
glass, armor, weapons, thread, and jewelry are known 
to have existed in their dominions. But it is in the 
fabrication of church furniture, votive offerings, and 
utensils designed for the service of the altar, that the 
labors of their artisans are best known to us. In the 
province of Guarrazar, a few miles from Toledo, was 
accidentally discovered, in the middle of the last cen- 
tury, a deposit of objects which had evidently been 
hastily buried by the priests on the approach of the 
Saracen invader. It was composed of a number of 
votive crowns some of which were inscribed with the 
names of the donors sceptres, censers, crosses, candle- 
sticks, lamps, chains, girdles. All of these were of 
gold enriched with precious stones. The ignorance, 

196 History of the 

fear, and avarice of the peasants who discovered this 
treasure resulted in the dispersion and loss of the most 
precious portion of it ; but the crowns were saved, and 
are now in the Hotel de Cluny at Paris, and the Royal 
Armory at Madrid. These articles enable us to form 
an excellent idea of the condition of the arts at the 
beginning of the eighth century. The accounts given 
by Christian and Arab historians of the Visigothic 
kings, and of the enormous booty obtained by the 
Moors, had, until this discovery was made, been ridi- 
culed by critics as exaggerations, due to the national 
vanity of both conquered and conqueror. From even 
a cursory examination of these objects unique in the 
world can readily be detected the taste and style of 
the Byzantine, whose influence over the artistic tradi- 
tions of the Peninsula, far from disappearing with the 
Gothic dynasty, was exhibited in some of the most 
magnificent creations of the Moslem domination. 
The clumsy but massive patterns of the crowns show 
that the value of the materials was taken into con- 
sideration, quite as much as the labor that was ex- 
pended upon them. From their ornamentation is re- 
vealed a not inconsiderable familiarity with the art of 
the enameller. Some of the settings are of polished 
silicates, inserted, probably by way of contrast, at 
intervals in lines of uncut gems. The accuracy with 
which they are adjusted and their points united is 
indicative of long practice and extraordinary skill. 
A separate intaglio belonging to the same treasure 
discloses a hitherto unsuspected degree of perfection 
in the glyptic art. The carving of stones as hard as 
the jacinth gives us a still further acquaintance with 
the skill of the Gothic lapidary, and the delicacy of 
the filigree borders is of almost equal excellence with 
the best work of modern Italv. 

While the manufactures of Gothic Spain were due 
to the talents and industry of slaves, its commerce 

Moorish Empire in Europe 197 

was monopolized by foreigners. The genius of the 
barbarian, fearless in adventure upon land but too 
indolent for application to mercantile employments, 
instinctively shrank from the perils and the hardships 
incident to protracted navigation of the seas. In 
agriculture, however, great progress was made. Pas- 
toral occupations had been largely superseded by the 
tillage of the soil. The character of the various en- 
actments relating to real property shows the impor- 
tance with which that branch of the law was already 
invested, and the attention its occupancy and its ten- 
ures had received from the legislative power. In 
literature the Visigoths could boast of few produc- 
tions of merit, and what we designate by the name 
of science was to them totally unknown. But a single 
name, that of San Isidoro of Seville, one, however, 
famous in every department of knowledge historian, 
polemic, commentator, theologian, and saint has 
emerged from the chaos of literary obscurity which 
enveloped the life of Visigothic times. His acquire- 
ments were prodigious for the age. The oracle of 
ecclesiastical councils, his writings were perhaps more 
voluminous than those of any other author that Spain 
has ever produced, and they are still regarded by 
Catholic divines as authoritative in settling contro- 
verted points of doctrine. 

The practice of medicine in addition to being 
subordinated to the irresponsible intervention of the 
priesthood, whose imposture reaped a profitable har- 
vest by the working of spurious miracles and by the 
application of relics was hampered by the preju- 
dices of the ignorant, and by the absurd restric- 
tions imposed by the jealousy of an ecclesiastical 
legislature. No matter how pressing the necessity, a 
physician was not permitted to attend a free woman 
unless her male relatives were present. If great 
weakness resulted from his treatment he could be 

198 History or the 

heavily fined, and in case death ensued he was aban- 
doned to the vengeance of the family of his patient. 
The law, however, as a partial compensation for the 
inconveniences to which he was subjected, exempted 
him from imprisonment for all crimes save that of 
murder. A limited knowledge of anatomy and some 
acquaintance with the fundamental principles of sur- 
gery were possessed by these practitioners, as is dis- 
closed by their successful operations for cataract. 
Their compensation was regulated by statute, and 
was, besides, subject to special agreement; but, in 
case the patient was not cured, no fee could be col- 
lected, and the physician was liable, at all times, to 
prosecution for flagrant acts of malpractice. 

The empire of the Visigoths, during the period of 
its greatest prosperity, extended from the valleys of 
the Loire and the Garonne to the Mediterranean. 
The surrender of a portion of this territory to Clovis 
consolidated the power of both the kingdoms of 
France and Spain, by adopting for their common 
boundary the natural rampart of the Pyrenees. The 
tastes and traditions of the Teutonic nation, hereto- 
fore averse to sedentary occupations, and considering 
all labor, and especially the cultivation of the soil, as 
degrading to the character of a freeman, caused such 
employment to be abandoned to the former subjects 
of the Roman Empire; nor was it until several cen- 
turies had elapsed, and the advantages resulting from 
industrious tillage had been demonstrated, that this 
prejudice was in some degree removed. At all times 
during the sway of the Visigoths, every species of 
manual labor was largely performed by slaves. The 
institution of colleges of artificers a custom in- 
herited from the most polished nation of antiquity 
had been adopted by the barbarian conquerors, and 
the slaves composing these bodies, where the talents 
of the father were transmitted to the son, were natu- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 199 

rally ranked among the most valuable of personal 
possessions. Large numbers of these artisans were 
the property of the Crown and of the Church, being 
respectively under the control of the Royal Treasurer 
and the Bishop, and the unique specimens of the gold- 
smith's skill which the fortunate discovery at Guar- 
razar has preserved for us, reveal to what proficiency 
in the mechanical arts these accomplished bondmen 
had attained. 

The greatest luxury and pomp were indulged in by 
the Visigothic nation, a people which the world still 
calls barbarian. Their palaces were encrusted with 
precious marbles. The furniture Of their apartments 
was of the most expensive character. The garments 
of the nobility were of silken fabrics embroidered with 
gold. The ladies of the court used for their ablutions 
basins of silver, and admired their beauty in exqui- 
sitely chased mirrors set with jewels. The horses of 
the royal household were covered with harnesses and 
trappings blazing with the precious metals. A hun- 
dred wagons laden with baggage and all the para- 
phernalia of boundless extravagance followed in the 
train of the monarch. Such was the lavish expendi- 
ture of even the middle and lower classes, that it be- 
came necessary to enact a law prohibiting the bestowal 
of a dowry of more than one-tenth of the property of 
a bridegroom upon the bride. 

Not only did the Visigoths strive to imitate their 
Roman subjects in the style and finish of their edifices, 
but in every public employment, in every department 
of art and labor, was the potent influence of the sub- 
jugated people visible. The organization of the 
various corps and divisions of the army was modelled 
after that of the legion. The most popular amuse- 
ments were, with the exception of gladiatorial com- 
bats, identical with those which had excited to frenzied 
enthusiasm the vast audiences of Rome and Constan- 

200 History of the 

tinople in the circus and the amphitheatre. The dress 
of the citizen, the armor of the soldier, were Roman; 
the ornaments of the ladies, the insignia of royalty, 
the decorations of the churches, were Byzantine. The 
language in common use was a barbarous and bastard 
Latin. The fusion of hostile races, the amalgamation 
of the conqueror and the conquered, that political 
problem which has taxed the skill of the wisest states- 
men, was almost brought to a successful solution by 
the broad statesmanship of the Visigothic sovereigns. 
The adoption and enforcement of a uniform and well- 
conceived body of laws did much to accomplish this 
end. But the acceptance of orthodox Christianity as 
the recognized form of national faith, and the legal- 
izing of intermarriage between the different peoples 
of the Peninsula, by their tendency to remove the 
formidable barriers raised by caste, which had hitherto 
isolated the various classes of society, did far more to 
promote the union of the discordant elements of 
society. The Basques constant types of the primi- 
tive Iberian alone, among the multifarious tribes 
which acknowledged the supremacy of the court of 
Toledo, have preserved their nationality, and have 
obstinately refused to surrender those distinctive racial 
peculiarities that have made them for centuries the 
subject of the entertaining speculations of the eth- 

In some respects a striking parallel, in others a de- 
cided contrast existed between Goth and Arab, repre- 
sentatives of the Aryan and Semitic branches of the 
human family, who crossed swords in Europe for the 
first time in history, on the plains of the Spanish 
Peninsula. Between these two great ethnographical 
divisions, a spirit of irreconcilable enmity has always 
prevailed. No fusion between them has ever been 
effected. Where one has obtained ascendency in any 
part of the world, the other has either preserved its 

Moorish Empire in Europe 201 

special traits or gradually become extinct. Consid- 
erations of political expediency, the claims of divine 
revelation, the benefits of trade, the ultimate prospect 
of national union and social equality, have not been 
sufficient to counteract the influence of an antagonism 
which anticipates all human records in its antiquity. 
The customs of nomadic peoples are proverbially per- 
sistent; their occupation frequently survives the 
change of residence, the accidents of migration, and 
the influence of new and radically different associa- 
tions. Both the Goths and the Arabs placed their 
principal dependence upon their flocks and herds, but 
neither ever hesitated to exchange the crook of the 
shepherd for the spear of the robber. The love of 
war and violence was the predominating character- 
istic of both. They had a common admiration for 
courage as the greatest of virtues ; a common appre- 
ciation of the noble qualities of personal liberty, of 
private honor, of generous hospitality. Their habits 
were slothful, their existence precarious. Their 
jealousy of power forbade their acknowledgment 
of royal authority. They considered all industrial 
employments as beneath the dignity of manhood. 
Their worship was tainted with the most objection- 
able features of idolatry, the adoration of stones, 
the practice of fetichism, the horrors of human 
sacrifice. Alike were they drunkards and desperate 
gamesters, who eagerly placed their liberty at stake, 
whose revels resounded with brawling, and whose 
disputes were settled with the sword. They recog- 
nized no permanent ownership in the soil, possessed 
little portable wealth, were ignorant of the arts and 
without the knowledge of letters. Like all barbarians, 
they believed disease and insanity to be caused by 
demoniacal possession. With both, love of poetry 
was a passion, and the personality of the bard the 
object of almost idolatrous reverence. Such were the 

202 History of the 

traits common to two nations, separated by a distance 
of eighteen hundred miles, ignorant of each other's 
existence, and living under entirely dissimilar climatic 
conditions. The atmosphere of the Baltic was per- 
petually cold and damp, that of Arabia dry and 
torrid almost beyond endurance. Eastern Europe 
was covered with dense forests, traversed by noble 
rivers, and dotted with impassable swamps. In the 
Desert nothing was so rare as a tree or rivulet. The 
physical conformation of the Goth and the Arab re- 
spectively was controlled by his environment to an 
even greater degree than was the mental constitution 
of either. The former was of giant stature and 
strength, and of fair complexion; the latter slender, 
nervous, and swarthy. With the Goth, female chas- 
tity was held in the highest esteem ; with the Arab, it 
was the subject of caustic epigram, of jest, and of 
satire. The Goth, a monogamist, knew nothing of 
the pleasures of gallantry; the polygamous Arab 
placed indulgence in them second only to the excite- 
ment of battle. The Goths were among the first and 
most devout proselytes of Christianity; the Arabs 
have ever obstinately refused to acknowledge the 
divinity of Christ or the superior authority of the 

That invincible prowess which, nurtured by poverty 
and an abstemious life, was displayed with equal dis- 
tinction and success amidst the forests of Europe and 
on the sandy plains of Africa, was the potent weapon 
which obtained for each of these great nations su- 
premacy over their adversaries; an advantage which, 
through internal dissension, sectarian prejudice, and 
social corruption, was eventually lost; but not until 
the moral and physical peculiarities of both had im- 
pressed themselves upon their contemporaries, so 
deeply as to insure their transmission, with but little 
modification, to subsequent ages. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 203 

The spirit of the Visigoths was, almost from 
the first, decidedly progressive. This general ten- 
dency towards improvement, and a desire for the 
blessings of civilization, stimulated commercial ac- 
tivity, increased domestic happiness, and opened a 
field for the development of art, the advancement of 
science, the strict administration of justice, and the 
consequent decrease of brutality and crime. The 
wisdom of the Gothic polity and the equity of its 
laws afford a pleasing and instructive example of 
the capacity of a people to raise itself unaided from 
barbarism a people which, in addition to the ro- 
mantic interest attaching to its history, is entitled 
to the grateful remembrance of mankind for the 
beneficent influence it has exerted upon the political 
institutions and the social order of Europe; as well 
as for the creation of a judicial system whose merits 
and whose principles, confirmed by the experience of 
centuries, are still acknowledged by the most august 
tribunals of the civilized world. 

204 History or the 




General Conditions and Physical Features of the Spanish Penin- 
sula Various Classes of the Population Supremacy of 
the Church Tyranny of the Visigothic Kings Fatal Policy 
of Witiza Accession of Roderick Count Julian Invasion 
of Tarik Battle of the Guadalete Its Momentous Results 
Progress of the Moslems Arrival of Musa His Success 
Immense Booty secured by the Victors Quarrel of Tarik 
and Musa Interference of the Khalif Submission of the 
Goths Musa's Vast Scheme of Conquest The Two Gen- 
erals ordered to Damascus The Triumphal Procession 
through Africa Fate of Musa Causes and Effects of the 
Moslem Occupation of Spain. 

The encroaching spirit of Islam, dominated by the 
potent motives of avarice, ambition, and fanaticism, 
was not content with its marvellous achievements and 
the possession of two continents, it aspired to universal 
conquest. The submission of Africa was now com- 
plete. The sovereignty of the Byzantine Empire had 
vanished forever from the southern coast of the Medi- 
terranean. The tact and military skill of Musa had 
won the confidence, and inspired the respect, of the 
treacherous, warlike, and hitherto intractable, tribes 
of Mauritania. A large number of the latter had em- 
braced Mohammedanism. A still greater proportion 
who, either from association, policy, or conviction, pro- 
fessed attachment to the law of Moses, maintained an 
intimate correspondence with their oppressed brethren 
of the Spanish Peninsula. The latter in secret 
brooded over the accumulated wrongs of centuries, 
and, under an appearance of resignation, harbored 

Moorish Empire in Europe 205 

designs that boded ill to the temporal and ecclesiastical 
tyrants of the Visigothic monarchy. The restless 
glance of the Arabian general had long contemplated 
with envy, mingled with an insatiable desire for 
plunder, the rich and splendid cities of ancient Bastica ; 
its teeming mines ; its pastures, with their myriads of 
cattle ; its plains, traversed by innumerable canals and 
rivers; where even a careless and incomplete system 
of cultivation produced harvests almost rivalling in 
luxuriance those of the famous valleys of the Eu- 
phrates and the Nile. A strait, of less than eight 
miles in width in its narrowest part, now presented 
the sole physical impediment to the further progress 
of the conqueror. It was defended upon the African 
side by the fortress of Ceuta, whose governor was a 
vassal or tributary of the Visigothic king, and whose 
valor had rendered nugatory the efforts of the bravest 
Moslem captains, who, fully appreciating the strategic 
importance of this stronghold, had made repeated and 
desperate attempts to capture it. This promontory, 
which formed one side of the channel, familiar for 
ages to the Phoenicians, and supposed by the ignorant 
to be the end of the world, was protected from foreign 
intrusion by the portentous fables and prodigies in- 
vented by Tyrian artifice. Facing it, on the Spanish 
shore, stood the Temple of Hercules, with its dome 
of gilded bronze, its columns of electrum, and its mys- 
terious altars raised to Art, Old Age, and Poverty. 
Unlike other Pagan shrines for it contained no 
visible representation of a divinity it was always 
approached by the Phoenician mariner with feelings 
of gratitude and awe. It was associated with his 
naval superiority over the other nations of antiquity. 
It was intimately connected with the increase of his 
wealth; with the continuance of his prosperity; with 
the discovery of lands unknown to his contemporaries 
and rivals ; with the preservation of his stores of occult 

206 History of the 

wisdom, whose sources he explored with such acute- 
ness and concealed with such success. Every device 
of fable and superstition had been employed to clothe 
this locality with such a character as might effectually 
check the efforts of an inquiring or aggressive com- 
mercial spirit. To the accomplishment of this end, the 
phenomena of Nature lent their powerful aid. The 
contracted passage between two of the greatest bodies 
of water known to the ancients was of unfathomable 
depth. On both sides, despite the agitation of the 
waves, its level remained the same. Even during both 
the ebb and flow of the tide, the current always ran 
strongly towards the east. Its force was steady, con- 
stant, invariable; the waxing and waning of the 
moon, the most furious tempests, exerted no appre- 
ciable influence over the inflexible regularity of its 
motion. It was not without reason that the apparent 
suspension of the laws of equilibrium and of the 
forces of Nature was attributed by the superstitious 
to the divinity whose temple guarded the famous por- 
tals upon which he had imposed his name. It has been 
maintained by scholars that within this shrine was pre- 
served, as a sacred relic, a fragment of magnetic ore, 
of great antiquity, known to the Tyrian navigator as 
a priceless talisman the precursor of the mariner's 
compass which had guided his course to distant 
Britain, and assured to his countrymen the empire 
of the seas. According to popular belief, through 
this channel the way led to the realm of Chaos. To 
brave its unknown and dreaded perils was sacrilege, 
and to none, save those authorized by the priests of 
Melcareth, was this undertaking permitted. In sub- 
sequent times, invested with little less mystery, this 
region had bequeathed not a few of its reminiscences 
to the Roman, and awakened the curiosity of the 
Arab, as he fixed his gaze upon the white-topped 
waves sparkling in the sunlight between continent 

Moorish Empire in Europe 207 

and continent and sea and sea, like the facets of a 
precious gem; or, in the beautiful imagery of the 
Oriental chronicler, " like a diamond between two 
emeralds and two sapphires, the master-stone in the 
ring of empire." 

In the beginning of the eighth century the kingdom 
of the Visigoths presented every appearance of pros- 
perity and power. Its inherent weakness was imper- 
fectly disguised by the pomp of its hierarchy and the 
luxury of its court, which veiled the defects of its con- 
stitution and the abuses of its government with a false 
and delusive splendor. Its licentious sovereign re- 
tained none of the primitive virtues of his ancestors, 
whose intrepid spirit and resistless valor had sustained 
them on a hundred fields of battle, and had borne their 
arms in a long succession of triumphs from the Baltic 
to the Mediterranean. The successor of Reccared and 
Wamba had degenerated into a feeble tyrant, who 
reigned by a disputed title, and in whose sensual na- 
ture neither the rites of hospitality, the obligations 
of friendship, the dignity of the regal office, nor the 
infirmities of age, interposed any obstacle to the indul- 
gence of his unbridled passions. 

A haughty nobility decimated by the sanguinary 
feuds promoted by a contested succession, and divided 
into factions whose members hated each other with far 
greater intensity than that which they bore to a com- 
mon enemy; unaccustomed to the exercise of arms; 
destitute of faith and honor; concealing treasonable 
sentiments under the semblance of enthusiastic loy- 
alty, endeavored to sustain, by vainglorious boasts 
and barbaric ostentation, the dignity of their order 
and the majesty of the throne. The martial ardor of 
the legions which had for centuries upheld the great- 
ness and the renown of the Roman name had been 
supplanted by the zeal and avarice of the monastic 
hordes, who defended by every expedient of fraud 

208 History of the 

and violence the rising cause of the church militant. 
The crosier, in the hands of an arrogant caste which 
monopolized the learning of the age, had become far 
more potent than the sword or the sceptre, and the 
origin of all political measures of national importance 
was to be sought not in the palace but in the cathedral. 
The wise, tolerant, and judicious policy of the early 
ecclesiastics, that had animated and directed the coun- 
cils of the Church, which by its humanizing influence 
had softened the prevailing rudeness of the age, and 
framed laws whose equitable maxims have served as 
models for succeeding legislators, had been abandoned 
for the degrading but profitable occupation of hunt- 
ing down and plundering heretics. The proud and 
exclusive hierarchy of the Visigoths refused to ac- 
knowledge the supremacy, or respect the edicts, of 
the See of Rome. When the Pope interfered in the 
spiritual affairs of the Peninsula an occurrence, how- 
ever, that rarely took place he did so rather in the 
capacity of a mediator, or even a suppliant, than as 
a mighty ruler, the head of Christendom, and the 
Vicar of God. His titles were assumed and his pre- 
rogatives usurped by the Spanish prelates; his in- 
fallibility was questioned, not only by the higher 
clergy, whose ministrations were declared to be en- 
dowed with equal virtue, but even by the sovereign 
and the nobles, who openly ridiculed his pretensions 
and defied his authority. The evil example of royal 
profligacy had infected every grade of the priesthood. 
The episcopal palace became the scene of daily turmoil 
and midnight orgies, which scandalized the populace, 
itself far from immaculate; while the excellence of 
the wines and the beauty of the female companions 
of priest and primate were matters of public jest and 
infamous notoriety. The relative positions of the 
great officials of Church and State had, by reason of 
the peculiar functions exercised by the former, who 

Moorish Empire in Europe 209 

had entirely usurped the legislative power, been re- 
versed. The prelate, while still retaining the outward 
insignia of his sacred profession, had, from the prac- 
tice of the generous and self-sacrificing duties of a 
minister of grace and mercy, descended to the ignoble 
arts of an active, scheming, unscrupulous politician. 
The nobility, after having virtually surrendered to 
their spiritual advisers the complete control of the 
administration, preserved, to a pharisaical degree, the 
outward semblance of devotion. In private life, the 
morals of both classes were stained with degrading 
vices and crimes which were thinly veiled by a more 
or less rigid observance of the prescribed forms of 
religious worship. 

No country in Europe had, from the earliest times 
of which history makes mention, constantly offered 
such inducements to the enterprise and prowess of 
an invader as Spain. The Orient and the Occident 
met upon her shores. Every material advantage 
which could attract the attention of man, which could 
stimulate his ambition, increase his wealth, insure his 
comfort, supply his necessities, and minister to his 
happiness, was hers. The balmy air of her southern 
provinces whose skies for months were unobscured 
by a single cloud was tempered by the breezes of 
the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The varied land- 
scape of hill and plain, seamed with a net-work of 
artificial rivulets, was covered with a mantle of per- 
petual verdure. Her orchards furnished an inex- 
haustible supply of the most delicious fruits. The 
products of her mines had made the fortune of every 
possessor Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman, Van- 
dal, and Goth. Her gold and silver had embellished 
the thrones of Babylon, the shrines of Tyre, the 
palaces of Memphis, the temple of Jerusalem. Her 
coasts, easy of access from every point, offered a 
succession of safe and commodious harbors. The 

Vol. I. 14 

210 History of the 

Visigoths, despite their barbarian prejudice against 
manual labor, recognized the importance of agricult- 
ure. The provinces of the realm were apportioned 
among the nobility. A stated tribute was required of 
their vassals by the great landed proprietors, who 
rarely had the justice to grant indulgence for a fail- 
ure of the harvests or a deficiency resulting from 
public or private misfortune. The cultivators were 
attached to the glebe, which could not be alienated 
without them, and, forming an hereditary caste, were, 
to all intents and purposes, slaves; although, under 
the Gothic polity, their position was nominally supe- 
rior to that of the unfortunate who was exposed for 
sale in the market. From these two classes, dispirited 
by generations of arduous toil and constant oppres- 
sion, were recruited the rank and file of the army, 
who were expected to fight for the preservation of 
their tyrants' possessions and the continuance of their 
own degradation. The lot of the serf under later 
Visigothic rule was, in general, far more grievous than 
that of the slave had been under the Roman. The 
Teutonic custom which encouraged the imposition of 
personal service in return for protection was unknown 
under the Empire. The rendering of this obligation 
an hereditary charge a cardinal principle of the 
German constitution, but which became in a measure 
obsolete under the later Visigothic kings added to 
the aggravation which attended its performance. The 
restrictions upon marriage, the separation of families, 
the severity of punishment imposed for even trifling 
offences, added to the humiliation and hardships of 
the servile condition. While the Arian heresy was pre- 
dominant, the burdens of serfdom were lightened, and 
its state had been gradually improved. The gener- 
osity of the bishops was displayed in every way that 
kindness and consideration could suggest; in the 
diminution of labor; in rewards for fidelity; in 

Moorish Empire in Europe 211 

attendance in sickness; in sympathy in misfortune. 
The unhappy serf, deceived by these concessions and 
favors, not unnaturally concluded that they portended 
increased liberty and ultimate emancipation. The 
clergy gave color to this presumption by frequent 
declarations from the pulpit that slavery was con- 
trary to the teachings of the Gospel. In time, with 
the increase of influence, the control of royal elections, 
and the absolute dictation of the policy of the throne, 
these spiritual statesmen found it expedient to forget 
the benevolent precepts of government which they 
had formerly so earnestly inculcated. After the ac- 
ceptance of the orthodox faith, the inherent evils of 
the servile system were magnified to an unprecedented 
degree. The high rank, sacred character, and practi- 
cally unlimited power of the great prelates of the 
Church, offered unusual opportunities for the indul- 
gence of the passions of tyranny and avarice. The 
dependents of bishops walked in the processions, by 
which were celebrated the great festivals of the 
Church, attired in silken liveries embroidered with 
gold. The appointments of their palaces and the 
magnificence of their trains surpassed even those of 
the sovereign. The estates of these dignitaries were 
the most extensive and important of the kingdom; in 
many instances they exceeded in value the royal de- 
mesnes. Immense numbers of slaves were employed 
upon them, not merely in the cultivation of the soil, 
but in the producing and perfecting of every article, 
then known, which could contribute to the pleasure 
of their luxurious lords. For these unhappy laborers, 
whose tasks each year became more arduous, and 
whose aspirations for liberty, cherished during many 
generations, were now destroyed, the prospect of re- 
lief from their unsupportable burdens seemed abso- 
lutely hopeless. Inferior in numbers to these two 
classes of agricultural serfs, and the individuals con- 

212 History of the 

demned by the accident of birth, or the process of law, 
to perpetual bondage, but vastly superior to them in 
intelligence, in shrewdness, and in all the arts of de- 
ceit, were the Jews. A sweeping decree of the Seven- 
teenth Council of Toledo had confiscated their pos- 
sessions and sentenced them to servitude. A hundred 
thousand of these sectaries, in whose breasts rankled 
a spirit of fierce and sullen hatred, born of hostility 
handed down for ages, and aggravated by a system 
of repression scarcely justifiable even by the sternest 
demands of political necessity, constituted an element 
of a far more dangerous character than all of the 
others whose machinations and discontent had under- 
mined the fabric of the Visigothic empire. The na- 
tional sentiment of superiority born of theocratic 
government, of the claims of an arrogant priesthood, 
of the alleged favor of the Almighty, and of the 
traditions of three thousand years was then, as now, 
all-powerful in the minds of the Jewish people. The 
defective annals of that age have failed to furnish 
us with data by which we can determine with what 
degree of strictness the laws against the Hebrews were 
enforced. It is probable, however, that in the cities, 
where a higher condition of intelligence existed and 
more correct ideas of justice obtained, observance of 
these inhuman edicts was frequently evaded. In the 
villages and hamlets the fanaticism and jealousy of 
the peasantry undoubtedly inflicted every hardship 
and indignity upon the Jews. In vain might the 
favored steward or counsellor of the noble, who still 
retained his residence in the palace, and continued to 
supply by his own talents and experience the defi- 
ciencies produced by his employer's sloth and inca- 
pacity, attempt to alleviate the wretchedness of his 
countrymen. With the ignorant rabble, the posses- 
sion of wealth and the exertion of political power 
by heretics were always unpardonable crimes. The 

Moorish Empire in Europe 213 

clergy, on all occasions, for ends of their own, 
fomented the popular discontent, lauded this cruel 
policy as acceptable to God, and by every device 
sought to perpetuate the ancient antagonism of the 
Aryan and Semitic races, in which is to be sought 
one cause of the irrational and widely-diffused preju- 
dice against the Jew. This feeling was also intensified 
by the current tradition that, during the reign of 
Leovigild, the Hebrews had, with unconcealed alac- 
rity, aided the heterodox clergy in persecuting mem- 
bers of the Roman Catholic communion. Under these 
circumstances, too much importance cannot be at- 
tached to the part played in the Moorish occupation 
of Spain by this numerous and enterprising sect, 
skilled in all the arts of dissimulation, and exasper- 
ated by centuries of oppression, which the Visigothic 
kingdom nourished in its bosom. Without the in- 
formation afforded by its members the Arab attack 
would probably have never been undertaken. With- 
out its support and co-operation it is certain that the 
subjugation of a nation of six million souls could 
never have been accomplished in the space of a few 
months by a mere handful of undisciplined horsemen. 
No nation has ever flourished under the rule of a 
hierarchy. The circumstances indispensable for the 
security and happiness of the subject are incom- 
patible with the demands of the alleged representa- 
tives of divine inspiration and omnipotent power. 
The narrow policy inseparable from protracted eccle- 
siastical domination is inevitably productive of na- 
tional ruin and disgrace. In this instance, it dispos- 
sessed the Spanish people of the richest part of their 
inheritance for eight hundred years. Under the 
monarchs of the Austrian line incapable of profit- 
ing by the experience of their predecessors and deaf 
to the warnings of history similar acts of impru- 
dence and folly contributed more than aught else to 

214 History of the 

deprive the Spanish Crown of the political supremacy 
of Europe. 

The events in the annals of Spain which relate to 
the close of the seventh and the commencement of 
the eighth century are involved in more than ordinary 
obscurity. It was a period fraught with political and 
social disturbance. Treason and regicide, crimes from 
which, heretofore, the Gothic people had been pro- 
verbially exempt, were now considered justifiable ex- 
pedients by every ambitious noble who aspired to raise 
himself to the throne. The degrees of favor and abso- 
lution which the successful traitor could expect from 
the clergy were directly proportionate to the value of 
the gifts which he was able to deposit in the treasury 
of the Church. Every offence, no matter how fla- 
grant, was pardonable after satisfactory pecuniary in- 
tercession with the priest. The fulminations of the 
Holy Council were denounced against all who refused 
allegiance to the royal assassin, whose election had 
been ratified by the votes of the assembled prelates. 
Where the aspirant to kingly power lacked the cour- 
age for deeds of blood, a resort to fraud was deemed 
excusable, provided it was attended with success and 
the customary liberal contribution for ecclesiastical 
purposes was not forgotten. To such a depth of 
degradation had fallen the descendants of the loyal, 
brave, and generous warriors of the Teutonic race ! 

The greatness of the Visigothic monarchy had de- 
parted with the reign of Wamba, the last of its heroes, 
and one illustrious for the practice of every public 
and every private virtue. Deprived of his crown by 
an artifice which reflected more credit on the astute- 
ness than on the integrity of his successor, he was 
condemned to pass the latter portion of his life in a 
convent. The new king Ervigius, after an uneventful 
reign, left his kingdom to his son-in-law Egiza. The 
character of the latter monarch, while not destitute of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 215 

the manly virtues of courage and resolution, was tar- 
nished by insatiable rapacity. He was as persevering 
in his pursuit of wealth as he was unscrupulous in his 
methods of obtaining it. He commuted the enforce- 
ment of penal laws for the payment of fines, which 
varied with the pecuniary ability of the culprit to 
discharge them, without regard to the degree or the 
circumstances of the crime. Under trivial pretexts, 
he banished wealthy citizens and confiscated their 
property. He imposed excessive taxes. Emboldened 
by the impunity of power, he did not hesitate to resort 
even to forgery; and, by means of spurious docu- 
ments, implicated in offences against the state such 
wealthy individuals as had the hardihood to resist his 
importunate demands. And, worst of all, he lost no 
opportunity to appropriate the revenues of the 
Church, under whatever pretence his ingenuity or 
his audacity might suggest. By an unprincipled 
and tyrannical hierarchy the former misdemeanors 
might be overlooked, but the latter offence was 
tainted with the double reproach of oppression and 
sacrilege. After formal and unavailing remon- 
strance, a plot was formed in 692 by Sisebert, 
Archbishop of Toledo, which had for its object the 
assassination of the King and his entire family. 
Some of the most powerful nobles were involved 
in this conspiracy, which was hatched by the prin- 
cipal ecclesiastics of the capital. Timely informa- 
tion of the plot having reached the ears of the 
sovereign, the most vigorous means were taken to 
counteract it. The metropolitan was arrested and 
deposed. A number of the chief conspirators were 
executed or exiled. Scarcely had this conspiracy been 
suppressed, before the existence of a still more for- 
midable one was revealed. The Hebrews, whose con- 
dition under this and the preceding reign had been 
more favorable than for many years, evincing no 

216 History of the 

gratitude for the leniency with which they had been 
treated, and remembering only past indignities, ex- 
ulting in their numbers and influence, and assured of 
aid from Barbary, made arrangements for a general 
revolt, with a view to a complete reorganization of 
the government and the metamorphosis of Spain into 
an absolutely Jewish kingdom. This treasonable de- 
sign was discovered, however, almost at the moment 
when it was ripe for execution. The authorities 
took measures to insure their safety with exemplary 
severity. A council was convoked and a decree 
passed, by which the Jews were condemned to be 
banished, enslaved, stripped of their possessions, and 
deprived of their children. The outrageous cruelty 
of the measure, however, caused an almost immediate 
reaction, and it was not generally enforced. The dis- 
contented sectaries, grieving under their accumulated 
wrongs, and exasperated by the miscarriage of their 
plans, continued to hope for assistance from abroad, 
and embraced every opportunity to send information 
of the public disorders to their sympathetic brethren 
in Africa. The reign of Egiza, agitated hitherto by 
almost incessant political convulsions, was now threat- 
ened with the evils of foreign invasion. A Saracen 
fleet, well manned and equipped, descended upon the 
defenceless Spanish coast, ravaged the fields, plun- 
dered the villages, and carried the inhabitants into 
captivity. To provide against this new danger a naval 
expedition was fitted out, and entrusted to the com- 
mand of Theodomir, an officer of approved experi- 
ence, and a noble of the highest rank. Setting sail, 
the Gothic admiral lost no time in encountering the 
hostile fleet. A bloody engagement took place; two 
hundred of the enemy's vessels were destroyed or 
taken; and the embryotic maritime power of the 
Moslems was swept from the seas. In the following 
year a war with the Franks, the cause of which is 

Moorish Empire in Europe 217 

unknown, was carried on for several months with the 
indecisive results characteristic of the operations of 
desultory warfare. Egiza, being advanced in years 
and conscious of his infirmities, was desirous of asso- 
ciating his son Witiza with him in the administration, 
and of securing to him the succession at his decease. 
A council having been convoked for this purpose, his 
wishes were realized without opposition, and Witiza 
was raised to the regal dignity. The following year 
the old King died, leaving to his young and inexperi- 
enced successor the sole responsibility of government, 
and a series of difficulties and embarrassments such as 
no other monarch of his time had hitherto been forced 
to contend with, and which involved both the stability 
of the Visigothic empire and the preservation of the 
Christian faith. The accession of Witiza promised 
a happy and prosperous future to the country afflicted 
with so many calamities. His youth had been distin- 
guished by the practice of the virtues of temperance, 
generosity, justice, and filial reverence. As soon as 
he attained to absolute power, he evinced a disposition 
to win the attachment of the people by making amends 
for the pecuniary exactions and oppressive laws which 
had been imposed by the avarice and extortions of his 
family. A general amnesty was proclaimed. The 
forged documents by which the wealthy had been 
plundered were destroyed. All taxes, except such 
as were absolutely necessary to the support of the 
government, were remitted. Great numbers of exiles 
were invited to return, and their possessions were 
surrendered. The Jews were restored to partial 
favor; but, as the popular prejudice was still bitter 
and universal, a politic appearance of severity was 
maintained, which, however, it was evident would be 
entirely removed in time. Under such favorable 
auspices began the reign of Witiza, whose magna- 
nimity, tact, and affable demeanor had already won 

218 History of the 

the hearts of his subjects. The opinion of the latter 
was at first confirmed by the mild disposition and 
virtuous behavior of their youthful sovereign. But 
this fair promise of future greatness was fallacious, 
for Witiza soon plunged into excesses which awakened 
the horror of his subjects, and provoked the censures 
of the clergy, ever disposed to be lenient towards 
such transgressions except when they threatened their 
influence or their revenues. The whole court was soon 
abandoned to indiscriminate licentiousness. Not only 
was the violation of the most sacred traditions of the 
Church permitted, but polygamy and concubinage 
were openly encouraged by sacerdotal authority and 
example. The pious instructors of the people were 
the first to improve the opportunities afforded by these 
impolitic enactments, and the feelings of the devout 
were outraged by excesses which did not respect even 
the sacred precincts of the altar and the confessional. 
No scandals, however, aroused such indignation as the 
indulgence which was manifested towards the Jews. 
Every ecclesiastic, especially, considered any modera- 
tion of the condition of this down-trodden race an 
affront to his order, and a crime worse than sacrilege. 
Enraged by the contempt with which Witiza treated 
their remonstrances, the clergy lost no occasion of 
increasing the prevailing discontent, and, with a view 
to strengthening their position by enlisting the aid of 
the Holy See, they secretly despatched an embassy to 
Rome. The ire of the Pope was excited by the repre- 
sentations of the envoys of the Spanish Church, whose 
prelates, though not acknowledging his supreme juris- 
diction, did not disdain to solicit his intervention as 
an affair which seemed to involve the interests of 
Christendom. Elated by the hope of establishing his 
authority in the Peninsula, the Holy Father Con- 
stantine, without delay, sent a message to the recal- 
citrant monarch threatening him with the loss of his 

Moorish Empire in Europe 219 

kingdom, unless he at once revoked the offensive 
edicts and permitted the unrestricted persecution of 
the Jews. To this Witiza retorted with contempt 
that if the Pope did not cease intermeddling with what 
did not concern him, he would drive him from the 
Vatican ; and he forthwith published an edict that no 
attention should be paid to the mandates of the 
Papacy under penalty of death. These proceedings 
further embittered the prejudices of both the clergy 
and the people, and the popular clamor became so loud 
that Witiza began to tremble for both his crown and 
his life. Agitated by his fears, and resolved to afford 
as little encouragement as possible to any treasonable 
undertaking, he dismantled the principal fortresses, 
and razed the walls of every city in the kingdom, ex- 
cepting those of Toledo, Astorga, and Lugo; an act 
of folly which not only failed of its object, but in 
the end directly contributed to the overthrow of the 
monarchy. The Jews, on the other hand, now placed 
in positions of profit and responsibility, far from ap- 
preciating the honors with which they were invested 
and the confidence which was reposed in them, with 
characteristic treachery and ingratitude, availed them- 
selves of their power for the destruction of their royal 
benefactor. Aided by their intrigues, a formidable 
conspiracy broke out. The majority of the clergy 
and a considerable body of the nobles joined the 
insurgents; a rival king was elected; and, after a 
short conflict, Witiza was deposed and probably 
murdered, for history has preserved no record of his 

The new monarch, Roderick, although he had 
reached the great age of eighty-two years, retained, 
in an unusual degree, the strength and activity of 
early manhood. His life had been passed amidst the 
athletic pastimes which exercised the leisure of the 
Gothic youth, and, in occasional expeditions under- 

220 History of the 

taken against the hardy mountaineers of Galicia and 
Biscay, he had earned a well-merited reputation for 
courage and military skill. Although not of royal 
blood, his natural endowments, the dignity of his 
carriage, the apparent but deceptive austerity of his 
manners, and the mildness of his temper, gained for 
him the respect of all who were admitted to his pres- 
ence. In the elegant luxury of his palace, in the 
splendor of his retinue, in the majestic pomp which 
distinguished every public ceremony over which he 
presided, he far surpassed his predecessors, and emu- 
lated, with no little success, the magnificence of the 
Roman court in the age of imperial decadence. 

The intriguing spirit which animated the subjects 
of a monarchy essentially elective, but one where 
courtesy and real or apparent merit occasionally 
made an exception in favor of hereditary descent, had 
established, among the Visigoths, the custom of retain- 
ing near the throne the children of powerful families ; 
nominally for purposes of education, but in fact to 
insure the fidelity of their relatives often entrusted 
with the custody of frontier strongholds or important 
military commands. The sons, until they attained to 
manhood, served as pages in the royal household, and 
were trained in all the manly and martial exercises of 
the time. The attendants of the queens were re- 
cruited from the noble maidens, whom this prudent 
custom placed and retained in the precincts of the 
court, and who were carefully instructed in the few 
but graceful accomplishments indispensable to the po- 
sition of ladies of distinguished lineage. Among the 
latter, at the court of Roderick, was the daughter of 
Count Julian, formerly a vassal of the Byzantine Em- 
pire, and the commandant of the fortress of Ceuta; 
whom political necessity, the isolation consequent upon 
the subjugation of every Greek settlement in Africa, 
and the rapidly increasing power of the Moors, had 

Moorish Empire in Europe 221 

compelled to appeal to the nearest Christian monarch 
for protection, and to transfer his allegiance to the 
court of Toledo. This girl, who was of great beauty, 
excited the licentious desires of the King, who, failing 
to accomplish his object by fair means, in an evil hour 
resorted to force. Informed of the injury which had 
been inflicted upon his family, Count Julian, braving 
without hesitation the storms of winter, hastened to 
the capital. Dissembling, with true Greek astuteness, 
his outraged feelings, he asked permission to remove 
his daughter to the bedside of her mother whom he 
represented as being dangerously ill. Without any 
misgivings Roderick granted the request, and, mani- 
festing every appearance of respect and loyalty, the 
veteran officer left the court and retraced his steps. 
No sooner had he arrived at his post, than he began to 
carry out the plan of vengeance which he had already 
fully matured. The castle of Ceuta was the key 
of Europe. Impregnable to all the resources of mili- 
tary engineering in an age when gunpowder was un- 
known, its value as an obstacle to foreign invasion was 
not understood by the Visigoths. The immunity of 
centuries ; the contempt for barbarians ; the ignorance 
of the mighty and unexampled power of Islam; the 
inertia produced partly by the influence of climate, 
but principally by an abuse of all the pleasures of 
unbridled luxury, had disposed the sovereigns of 
Toledo to consider their kingdom inaccessible to at- 
tack, and their empire eternal. As has already been 
mentioned, this haughty and corrupt nation was con- 
stantly agitated and its integrity menaced by a score 
of discordant factions. Its recent monarchs had bent 
all their energies to the abrogation of the statesman- 
like measures inaugurated by their forefathers. The 
nobles and the clergy, inflamed with mutual animosity, 
suspicious of their partisans, and arrayed against each 
other, were engaged in a mortal struggle for supe- 

222 History of the 

riority. The Jews, indulged and persecuted by turns, 
lived in a continual state of apprehension and despair. 
All the salutary restraints of religion were apparently 
removed; the Church was regarded as a convenient 
instrument for the attainment of political power ; the 
priesthood were devoted to the practice of nameless 
vices; the people to indiscriminate libertinage. A 
large body of slaves, who, under the lash of brutal 
masters, still preserved the traditions of liberty, were 
ripe for revolt, and longed for the day of their de- 
liverance. A disastrous famine, followed by its usual 
successor the pestilence, and whose effects were still 
apparent in untilled fields and deserted hamlets, had 
contributed to increase the popular suffering and dis- 
content. Fortified on one side against the incursions 
of the Franks by the natural rampart of the Pyrenees, 
and isolated on the others by the Mediterranean and 
the ocean, the inhabitants of the Peninsula, in the 
enjoyment of a salubrious climate and fruitful soil, 
rested in fancied security, and had long since laid 
aside the armor whose weight had become oppressive, 
and abandoned those warlike exercises whose preser- 
vation was their only safeguard. 

Incited by a spirit of desperation which considered 
neither the consequences of his acts nor the means by 
which they were to be accomplished, Count Julian 
sought the presence of Musa. He found the Moslem 
general at Kairoan, which had been selected as the 
seat of the viceregal government of Western Africa. 
The intrepid character of his visitor was not unknown 
to the great Arab soldier whose designs upon Ceuta 
had been twice frustrated, by the valiant Greek, after 
the employment of all the resources at the command 
of the Khali f, and Count Julian was received with 
every token of honor and respect. Unfolding his 
project, he descanted long and earnestly upon the 
riches of the Gothic monarchy and the facility of its 

Moorish Empire in Europe 223 

conquest. He explained the feuds and bitter feelings 
engendered by disappointed ambition, by religious 
persecution, by the seizure of hereditary estates, by 
the sufferings of wounded pride. He expatiated on 
the sense of injury experienced by the advocates 
of hereditary descent, who considered the reigning 
monarch of foreign lineage and inferior rank that 
had justly incurred the odium of usurpation. He 
portrayed in glowing terms the innumerable attrac- 
tions of the country, its productive valleys, its crystal 
streams, the medicinal value of its herbs and plants 
to which magical virtues were attributed by popular 
report, its mines, its fisheries, the precious spoil which 
awaited the hand of the invader, the transcendent 
beauty of its women. He described the effeminate 
character of the inhabitants, enervated by idleness, 
luxury, and sensual indulgence. Much of this infor- 
mation was already familiar to Musa, but hitherto the 
impassable barrier of the fortress defended by the 
stubborn courage of the governor of Ceuta had 
checked the aspirations of the Moslem commander; 
nor had it been possible to even confirm the accuracy 
of the wonderful tales which had been related con- 
cerning Ghezirah-al-Andalus, or the Vandal Penin- 
sula, as Spain was known to the Arabs. 

Thoroughly appreciating the importance of the 
proposal, the magnitude of the interests involved, 
and the uncertainty which would attend the issue of 
the expedition, and, at the same time, distrusting the 
good faith of the Goth, Musa determined to obtain 
the consent of the Khalif before returning a definite 
answer. Despatches, with complete information, were 
accordingly sent to Damascus. The reply of Al- 
Walid, who then occupied the throne of the khalif ate, 
was favorable; but he strongly advised the exercise 
of caution, a recommendation entirely superfluous in 
the case of a man of Musa's suspicious and crafty 

224 History of the 

disposition. Sending for Count Julian, Musa in- 
formed him that he would be required to prove his 
fidelity by heading a reconnoissance into the enemy's 
country. The count accepted the condition with 
alacrity; crossed the strait with a small detachment 
of soldiers belonging to his garrison; ravaged the 
coast in the neighborhood of Medina Sidonia ; burned 
several churches ; destroyed the growing harvests, and 
returned with considerable booty. Knowing his ally 
to be now compromised beyond all hope of pardon, 
and the trifling resistance encountered having appar- 
ently demonstrated the feasibility of the enterprise, 
Musa announced his willingness to negotiate. The 
conditions of the compact which disposed of one of 
the richest kingdoms of Europe have escaped the no- 
tice of history. There is reason to believe, however, 
that Count Julian was promised substantial pecuniary 
remuneration in addition to the gratification of re- 
venge; and that their hereditary estates were to be 
restored to the family of Witiza, whose sons were 
present at the conference, and whose brother Oppas 
was not only privy to the conspiracy but was one of 
its principal promoters. The keys of Ceuta were sur- 
rendered, and Count Julian, having sworn allegiance 
to the Khalif, was invested with a command in the 
Moslem army. 

The wary old veteran Musa was not yet satisfied, 
and determined to send a second expedition, under 
one of his own captains, to explore the Spanish coast. 
He selected for this purpose one of his trusty freed- 
men, Abu-Zarah-Tarif by name, who, embarking with 
one hundred cavalry and three hundred infantry, 
landed at Ghezirah-al-Khadra, now Algeziras, in July, 
710. The incursion of Tarif differed little in its re- 
sults from that of his predecessor, but confirmed the 
representations of the latter, and proved beyond doubt 
the defenceless condition of the Visigothic kingdom. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 225 

Preparations for war were now made upon a larger 
scale, but one which still could not contemplate the 
overthrow of the monarchy in the incredibly short 
period required to accomplish it, and which, indeed, 
was designed only as a predatory expedition. The 
command of the troops was given to Tarik-Ibn- 
Zeyad, a Berber, whose red hair and light complexion 
disclosed his descent from the Vandals. The similar 
names of these two officers, both of whom were f reed- 
men of Musa, have led to a confusion and mistaken 
identity, which has greatly embarrassed the narratives 
of both ancient chroniclers and modern historians. 
Tarik was a soldier of approved experience, extraor- 
dinary enterprise, and unflinching courage. His 
army was one of the most motley forces which had 
ever been assembled under the Moslem standard. The 
number was comparatively insignificant, amounting 
to only seven thousand, of whom but few were 
cavalry. The bulk of the troops was composed of 
Berbers fierce savages of the Atlas Mountains, 
proselytes reclaimed from fetichism by the policy 
and eloquence of Musa among them being repre- 
sentatives of the tribes of Ghomarah, Masmoudah, 
and Zenetah, names destined to a cruel celebrity in 
the subsequent history of Spain. Every nation whose 
types chance, misfortune, the love of plunder, or the 
spirit of adventure had impelled upon the African 
coast, was represented in the ranks of the invaders; 
descendants of the Vandals and the Goths; Bedouins 
from the Hedjaz; political exiles from the far 
Orient; conspirators from Syria; apostate Byzan- 
tines who had renounced allegiance to the Emperor 
of Constantinople ; and a considerable body of Jews, 
whose relations with their Spanish brethren rendered 
them valuable auxiliaries, swelled the command of 
Tarik. In the latter were adherents of every form 
of religion, the adorer of fire, the worshipper of the 

Vol. I. 15 

226 History of the 

stars, the Pagan votary of the gods of Olympus, the 
orthodox and the heretic Christian. Each tribe was 
marshalled under its respective banner, and the varied 
nationality of the rank and file was equally displayed 
in the widely diverse origin of the subordinate officers 
Count Julian the renegade Greek, Tarik the Ber- 
ber, Mugayth-al-Rumi the Goth, and Kaula-al-Ya- 
hudi the Jew. Vessels for the passage of the strait 
were furnished by Count Julian, who impressed such 
merchantmen as lay at anchor in the ports under his 
jurisdiction, the only ones obtainable; the number of 
these, however, was so insufficient that the transporta- 
tion of the army consumed several days. The Mos- 
lems finally disembarked at the foot of an immense 
promontory known to the ancient world as Calpe, but 
which, rechristened by the Arabs Gebal-al-Tarik, the 
Mountain of Tarik, has transmitted its new appella- 
tion, almost unchanged, to future ages as the famous 
Gibraltar. Scarcely had the invaders landed, when 
they were attacked by the Goths under Theodomir, 
that chieftain whose successful conduct of the naval 
expedition during the reign of Egiza had induced 
Roderick to invest him with the command of the 
forces at his disposal. The ill-equipped and undis- 
ciplined troops of the Gothic general at once disclosed 
their inability to withstand the onset of the fiery horse- 
men of the Desert, and Theodomir was compelled to 
retreat. He sent, without delay, the alarming news 
of the invasion to the King, revealing the universal 
dismay with which this strange enemy was regarded, 
in the following language: " Our land has been in- 
vaded by people whose name, country, and origin are 
unknown to me. I cannot even tell thee whence they 
came, whether they fell from the jskies or sprang from 
the earth." This ominous despatch reached Roderick 
before the walls of Pampeluna, which had recently 
revolted against his authority. Whatever were his 

Moorish Empire in Europe 227 

faults, the Gothic monarch was certainly not deficient 
in courage and resolution. Raising the siege, he 
hastened to Cordova, and devoted all his energies to 
the assembling of an immense army for the defence 
of the kingdom. Every resource was employed, 
promises of amnesty, threats, bounties, and conscrip- 
tion, until a hundred thousand men had been mus- 
tered under the royal standard. But this great host 
was formidable only in appearance. The levies of 
which it was composed were wholly wanting in dis- 
cipline and unaccustomed to the perils of warfare. 
Their weapons were mainly implements whose use 
was familiar in the practice of the peaceful arts of 
husbandry. The rank and file, a tumultuous rabble 
of slaves and hirelings, marched on foot. Horses 
were few and expensive in the Peninsula; only the 
nobles were mounted ; and to the deficiency of cavalry 
among the Goths the Arab historians have largely 
attributed the crushing reverses sustained by their 
arms. To the unwieldy and disorderly character of 
the Gothic army was added the secret and fatal in- 
fluence of treason. Thousands had been enrolled to 
defend the imperilled crown of Roderick, whose chief 
desire was the transfer of that crown to a rival dy- 
nasty. Others, high in rank, had tendered their ser- 
vices with the hope that, amidst the general confusion, 
they might push their political fortunes and gratify 
an inordinate ambition. The imperative necessity of 
the occasion had compelled the enlistment of the 
leaders of the hostile faction who had been injured 
beyond reparation, and whom it was equally danger- 
ous to trust or further to offend. At the head of 
these were the sons and brothers of Witiza, who, Avhile 
they repulsed the conciliatory overtures of Roderick, 
eagerly accepted a command which might promote 
their schemes of vengeance. Scores of those belong- 
ing to the noble and ecclesiastical orders, and the Jews 

228 History or the 

to a man, inflamed with revenge and hatred, were in 
daily communication with the head-quarters of the 
enemy. The jealousy of rival commanders tended 
still further to impair the efficiency of the Christians, 
whose feuds and discontent being well known to their 
adversaries had a tendency to inspire the latter with 
a well-grounded hope of victory. 

In the mean time, Tarik had seized and occupied 
the ancient town of Carte j a, and, fortifying himself 
securely, sent foraging expeditions far and wide 
throughout the surrounding country. These were, 
without exception, successful, and the rapid move- 
ments of the Arab cavalry, their seemingly invincible 
character, and the valuable booty they secured, not 
only struck terror into the astonished natives, but 
greatly encouraged the main body of the invading 
army, encamped under the shadow of Gibraltar. The 
emissaries and secret allies of Tarik, who swarmed in 
the court and camp of Roderick, lost no time in ap- 
prising him of the preparations being made for his 
destruction. Alarmed by the accounts he received, 
he despatched a messenger to Musa for reinforce- 
ments. A detachment of five thousand Berber cav- 
alry was sent to his aid, which with the remainder 
of his troops amounted to twelve thousand veterans; 
a mere handful when compared with the army of the 
Goths, but composed of warriors inured to privation, 
accustomed to conquer, inflamed with religious zeal, 
and bearing a devoted and unswerving attachment to 
their commander. 

On the morning of a beautiful July day, in the 
year 711, the beginning of an era most notable in 
the annals of Spain, the hostile armies faced each 
other near Lake La Janda, upon the rolling plains 
of Medina- Sidonia. The Moors, flushed with the 
uniform success which had hitherto attended their 
arms, relying upon the dissensions of the enemy as 

Moorish Empire in Europe 229 

much as upon their own valor, and impatient for the 
conflict, appeared in glittering mail, wearing snowy 
turbans, and equipped with sword and lance; while 
over their shoulders was suspended the Arabian bow, 
whose shafts, like those of the Parthian, made the 
archer all the more formidable in retreat. The Moor- 
ish general, after performing the rites of his faith, 
addressed his soldiers in a few stirring and well-chosen 
words. With consummate skill, he availed himself 
of the strongest passions which control humanity, 
avarice, military glory, the love of woman, the price- 
less rewards of religious constancy. He revealed to 
them a dream, in which the Prophet had announced 
that the issue of the conflict would be favorable to 
the adherents of Islam, and which portended the con- 
fusion of the infidel. He placed before them their 
desperate position, where defeat implied annihilation, 
and victory was the only hope. He exhorted them to 
banish all thought of fear, and to rely upon their 
courage tested upon many fields of battle. He 
pictured in burning language the attractions of the 
country and the matchless charms of the Gothic 
houris who inhabited it. He repeated the passages 
of the Koran which promised that all the martyrs 
who fell in battle would at once receive the reward 
of their devotion amidst the ineffable delights of 

Upon the other hand, the bribes, the appeals, and 
the threats of Roderick had brought together the en- 
tire available military power of the Gothic monarchy. 
The King, surrounded by his nobles and escorted by 
his guards, displayed all the pomp and splendor of 
the Orient. He was borne to the front by white mules, 
upon a litter of ivory richly inlaid with silver, and 
sheltered by a canopy of many-colored silk ; a purple 
cloak covered his shoulders, upon his head was the 
royal diadem, and his robes of cloth of gold were 

230 History of the 

enriched with priceless jewels. The devices of the 
nobles marked the order of the various divisions, 
and in the rear was led a train of many thousand 
beasts of burden whose only loads were ropes with 
which to bind the prisoners. The details of the battle 
which changed the destiny of Western Europe are un- 
usually meagre, even for the unlettered and credulous 
age in which it occurred. It seems to have consisted 
of a series of indecisive skirmishes which lasted eight 
days, during which time the two armies traversed a 
distance of twenty miles, to the neighborhood of the 
modern city of Jerez de la Frontera. Here, with 
amazing ignorance, or with fatal disregard of the 
elementary rules of military tactics, the Goths took 
up their position with the river Guadalete in their 
rear. Upon the final charge of the Arabs, the treason 
of the former partisans of Witiza became apparent. 
A large body of nobles with their retainers openly 
deserted ; a panic ensued ; and the vast array took to 
headlong flight. Pressing forward with the shrill 
war-cry of the Moslem, which struck terror into the 
defeated Goths, the Moorish squadrons drove the 
enemy into the rapid waters of the Guadalete. The 
carnage was terrible. Exasperated by days of fight- 
ing, and haunted by the constant jeopardy of servi- 
tude and death, the soldiers of Tarik gave no quarter. 
The ground was heaped with corpses. The channel 
of the river was choked with the dead and dying, with 
horses, and chariots, and camp equipage, with treas- 
ures which the fugitives vainly tried to save. Of the 
invaders, three thousand are said to have fallen, but 
no computation was made of the loss of the Goths. 
The remnants of the army which escaped the swords 
of the Arabs were pursued to the very gates of the 
neighboring cities. Many were cut to pieces before 
they could reach a place of safety; and finally, 
satiated with blood, the conquerors found upon 

Moorish Empire in Europe 231 

their hands a great number of prisoners whom the 
ropes which they themselves had provided now 
served to secure. The war-horse of Roderick 
covered with trappings of great value was taken, 
but no trace remained of the King. One of his 
sandals, encrusted with rubies and emeralds, was 
found on the bank of the river, which would seem 
to indicate that he perished by drowning; but his 
body was never recovered, and his fate is a mystery; 
notwithstanding that Spanish romance and monkish 
credulity have invested his disappearance with many 
extravagant legends, attested by a formidable array 
of ecclesiastical evidence. The booty which fell into 
the hands of the Moslems was incalculable. The 
number of horses taken was so large that the entire 
army was mounted, thereby adding greatly to its effi- 
ciency. The housings of these animals whose pos- 
session among the Goths implied the enjoyment of 
rank and fortune were of the costliest description; 
many of the finest chargers were shod with silver or 
gold. The Gothic nobles, rather accustomed to vie 
with each other in the service of their tables, the size 
of their retinues, and the magnificence of their equi- 
pages than in valor and military knowledge, and little 
dreaming of the result, had brought with them their 
most valuable possessions in plate and jewels. Their 
love of ostentation caused them to surround them- 
selves with multitudes of slaves, whose daily broils 
kept the camp in a continuous uproar, and between 
whom and the enemy existed a secret understanding, 
whose effects were fearfully manifested in the hour 
of disaster. All of this wealth, together with the 
ornaments and insignia of the royal household, be- 
came the spoil of the conqueror. The fifth, which 
according to the law of Islam belonged to the Khalif , 
having; been set aside, the remainder was divided on 
the field, amidst the tumultuous acclamations of the 
exultant soldiery. 

232 History of the 

The battle of the Guadalete is justly ranked with 
the great and decisive victories of the world. Indeed, 
if we consider the relative number of the combatants, 
the duration of the action, and the importance of its 
results, it has no parallel in the annals of warfare. 
While the intrigues of unscrupulous factions con- 
tributed largely to the success of the Arabs, the fact 
must not be lost sight of, that the numbers of the 
latter were scarcely appreciable when compared with 
the vast masses of their antagonists, and that they 
labored under the additional disadvantage of fight- 
ing in the enemy's country. As to generalship, none 
could have been displayed on either side. The Mos- 
lems were little better than banditti, commanded by 
barbarians and renegades whose sole military experi- 
ence had been acquired by predatory raids in the 
African Desert. The Goths, idle and effeminate 
in life, debilitated in body, cowardly, debased, and 
wholly unused to arms, were dominated by inordinate 
vanity and filled with contempt for their opponents. 
The tyranny, excesses, and arbitrary acts of Witiza 
having caused the exclusion of his posterity from the 
throne, the partisans of the latter were willing to 
sacrifice their country and their religion to insure the 
overthrow of the usurper and to satisfy their insa- 
tiable cravings for revenge. 

Thus fell the enfeebled and tottering monarchy of 
the Goths. It had long survived its glory and its 
prestige. The severe political maxims of its founders, 
suited to the frigid regions of the Baltic, had been 
found incompatible with the physical and moral con- 
ditions imposed by the voluptuous climate of Bsetica 
and Lusitania. Undermined by the vices of the no- 
bility, by the turbulent ambition of the priesthood, 
by the treasonable machinations of the Jews, and by 
the supine indifference of the masses to any fate 
provided only that it involved a change of masters 

Moorish Empire in Europe 233 

the first shock of a determined enemy swept it from 
the face of the earth. In its stead arose a new em- 
pire and a strange dynasty of exotic origin, foreign 
alike in dress, in laws, in customs, in constitution, in 
religion. Far from being uncongenial, the mete- 
orological conditions of the semi-tropical Peninsula, 
which have insensibly determined the manners, the 
policy, and the fate of so many races, were emi- 
nently favorable to the highest intellectual develop- 
ment of its people. Through the wise and noble 
ambition of its rulers was established that universal 
culture which made Cordova the intellectual centre 
from whence diverged those rays of light which illu- 
mined the darkness of the mediaeval world. From the 
genius of its statesmen, the skill of its generals, and 
the prowess of its armies arose that constant appre- 
hension of impending disaster, a portentous shadow, 
which, hanging over Europe like the imperfectly de- 
fined outlines of a gigantic spectre, threatened for 
centuries the overthrow of the Seat of St. Peter, and 
the destruction of that system of faith which had 
risen upon the ruins of Pagan idolatry and super- 

Great and wide-spread was the consternation which 
seized the Goths after the rout of the Guadalete. The 
entire resources of the kingdom had been staked and 
lost. The sovereign had mysteriously disappeared. 
In the carnage of the field, and in that which had 
accompanied the still more disastrous retreat, the 
nobility had suffered so greatly that few, if any, of 
its members who were eligible to the throne had sur- 
vived or remained at liberty. The sacred profession 
of the priesthood, which had encouraged by its pres- 
ence and exhortations the flagging spirits of the 
soldiery, had not been able to protect them from 
the edge of the Moorish scimetar. The hatred and 
fanaticism of the invaders were aroused to frenzy by 

234 History of the 

the sight of the vestments and insignia of the Church, 
and even the most venerable prelates were massacred ; 
for the ferocious Moslem gave no quarter to the 
ministers of Christianity, and disdained even the 
menial services of those who had denounced to eter- 
nal perdition the followers of the Prophet. The 
accumulated wealth of generations, which the vanity 
and ostentation of the palatines had exhibited at the 
court, on the march, and in the camp, had been swept 
into the coffers of the victor. The fugitives who 
were so fortunate as to escape took refuge in the 
neighboring cities; whither they were soon followed 
by the peasantry, who beheld with dismay the sight 
of their burning homes and desolated fields. In one 
engagement, and virtually in a single day, one of the 
most populous and opulent countries of Europe had 
succumbed to the impetuous but desultory attack of 
an unknown foe. For the space of two centuries, and 
under far less favorable circumstances, the Cartha- 
ginian and Iberian provinces of the Peninsula had 
successfully defied the resources and the prestige of 
the Roman arms. For three centuries longer, the 
Visigoths, relying upon the traditions and military 
fame of their ancestors, had protected, without diffi- 
culty, their possessions wrested from the feeble hands 
of the Caesars, and had repeatedly rolled back the tide 
of Frankish invasion from the slopes of the Pyrenees. 
With the advent of overwhelming national mis- 
fortune, there fell upon the terror-stricken people 
the apathy of despair. The public wretchedness 
was augmented by the censures of the clergy, who, 
with characteristic effrontery, declared the invasion 
to be a divine punishment for the crimes of the 
wicked; crimes in which they themselves had not 
only participated, but by their shameless conduct 
had obtained an infamous pre-eminence in an age 
of unprecedented corruption. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 235 

The Moslems under the lead of the enterprising 
Tarik, who displayed the talents of a skilful general 
in his ability to profit by every advantage, lost no time 
in securing the fruits of victory. From the army 
now a compact and active body of cavalry were sent 
in all directions detachments to cut off straggling 
parties of the enemy, and to capture supplies destined 
for the overcrowded cities already threatened with the 
horrors of starvation. 

Tidings of the wonderful success upon the plains 
of Jerez soon spread far and wide through the towns 
and provinces of Africa. Animated by the hope of 
plunder and glory, the Moslems, many of them aban- 
doning their homes and making use of every available 
craft to cross the strait, flocked by thousands to the 
standard of Tarik. The latter, after thoroughly re- 
organizing his new recruits, and appointing to the 
command officers of tried fidelity and experience, took 
Sidonia. The strongly fortified city of Carmona next 
claimed his attention. As its reduction by the slow 
process of a siege was out of the question with the 
resources at his command, resort was had to stratagem. 
A squadron of the retainers of Count Julian, headed 
by that worthy in person, and apparently pursued by 
a body of the enemy, appeared before the walls. 
Shelter was at once given the fugitives, who in the 
dead of night killed the sentinels and opened the gates 
to the enemy. Thence Tarik advanced upon Ecija, 
where the greater portion of the survivors of the battle 
of the Guadalete had taken refuge. The Goths, dis- 
daining the protection of their defences, and nerved 
to despair by their situation, which involved the alter- 
native of slavery or famine, boldly encountered the 
Moslems in the field. The action was hotly contested, 
and although the loss sustained by the invaders was 
greater, in proportion to the number of combatants 
engaged, than any suffered during the Conquest, the 

236 History or the 

Goths were in the end defeated, and the city taken. 
Ecija swarmed with members of the monastic orders, 
and the nuns, who largely predominated, were famous 
for their beauty. The prospect of the infidel harem 
filled these pious virgins with horror; and they 
adopted the heroic expedient of mutilating their 
features, hoping by the sacrifice of their charms to 
preserve both their honor and their lives. The com- 
passion of the Moslem freebooter, infuriated by this 
attempt to deprive him of his prey, was not moved 
by the evidences of saintly devotion; the sight of a 
conventual habit became the signal for outrage ; death 
followed fast upon violence; and many hundreds of 
the self-mutilated spouses of Christ received the crown 
of martyrdom. 

In the mean time, Musa had forwarded despatches 
to Damascus announcing the victory, but, actuated by 
the petty jealousy which formed such a prominent 
feature of his character, he carefully concealed from 
the Khalif the name of the successful commander. 
Having formed the determination to cross over to 
Spain and conduct the campaign in person, he sent 
peremptory orders to Tarik not to advance farther 
until he arrived. But the hero of the Guadalete, fully 
alive to the importance of affording the enemy no 
opportunity for rest and reorganization, and advised 
by Count Julian to march at once on Toledo, was of 
the opinion that the interests of his sovereign, as well 
as his own fortunes, would be promoted by disobedi- 
ence of the commands of his superior. He therefore 
paraded his troops, and after enjoining them to make 
war only upon those actually in arms, to leave all 
non-combatants unmolested, and scrupulously to re- 
spect the religious prejudices of the people, set out 
for Cordova at the head of a numerous army. The 
latter city was strong and well defended, and Tarik, 
after nine days, seeing that the siege would probably 

Moorish Empiee in Europe 237 

be of long duration, left its conduct to his lieu- 
tenant, Mugayth-al-Rumi, and moved without delay 
upon Toledo. The governor of Cordova, who was 
of the royal blood of the Goths, and a brave and 
determined officer, inspirited by the departure of the 
main body of the enemy, made no question of his 
ability to defend the city against a force not greatly 
exceeding his own in numbers. But the good fortune 
which seemed to attend the Moslems upon every occa- 
sion did not desert them in the present emergency. 
Information was soon brought to Mugayth-al-Rumi 
of a weak point in the fortifications which might be 
scaled. Aided by a dark night and the noise made 
by a storm of hail, a detachment crossed the river 
under the guidance of a shepherd, and reached the 
place which had been indicated. A fig-tree which 
stood near the wall was mounted by an active soldier, 
who, unrolling his turban, drew up several of his com- 
rades, who occupied the battlements without resist- 
ance; for the severity of the tempest had driven the 
sentries from their posts. Proceeding quietly and 
rapidly through the streets, the guard at the gates 
was surprised and cut to pieces, the army was ad- 
mitted, and by daybreak the city was in the hands 
of the Moslems. The governor, with four hundred 
of the garrison, fled to the church of St. George, 
which stood outside the western wall, and being sur- 
rounded by a moat and supplied with water by a sub- 
terranean conduit from a spring in the neighboring 
mountains, offered all the obstacles of a fortress whose 
towers and barbicans could bid defiance to an enemy 
destitute of military engines and ignorant of the 
mode of conducting a siege. For a considerable time 
the Goths repulsed the attacks of the band of Mu- 
gayth-al-Rumi, until at last, after diligent search, the 
source of the water-supply having been discovered 
and the aqueduct cut, the besieged, reduced to ex- 

238 History of the 

tremity, were compelled to surrender. The majority 
of the garrison were permitted to join their country- 
men in the North, but the officers and the governor 
who was a personage of too great importance to 
be set at liberty were retained in the camp of the 

Before leaving Ecija, Tarik had sent one of his 
officers, Zeyd-Ibn-Kesade, at the head of a consider- 
able force, to overrun the southern portion of Anda- 
lusia. In this region, as elsewhere, the mysterious 
terror which attended the exploits of the invaders 
had preceded them. Baja, Antequera, Elvira, and 
the adjoining districts yielded almost without resist- 
ance, but Granada, relying upon its fortifications, 
refused to accept the proffered terms and was carried 
by storm. The small number of the Moslems ren- 
dered it impossible for them to leave garrisons in 
the captured towns, and the most important of the 
latter were placed in charge of Arab governors, with 
whom the Jews, who seemed to have thriven under 
persecution, engaged themselves to co-operate. So 
numerous was the Hebrew element in Granada that 
it was practically a Jewish community, and, with its 
aid, a single company was sufficient to hold in sub- 
jection a city of nearly a hundred thousand souls. 
Having accomplished the object of his expedition 
with trifling loss, loaded with rich booty, and accom- 
panied by innumerable slaves of both sexes, Zeyd, 
sacking Jaen on his way, hastened to join Tarik at 

Eight months had elapsed since the battle of the 
Guadalete before the Moslem army appeared before 
the gates of the Visigothic capital. Perched upon a 
lofty eminence, and almost surrounded by the Tagus, 
whose current ran swiftly through a deep channel 
worn in the living rock, art had combined with nature 
to render its position impregnable. Walls built of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 239 

stones of almost cyclopean dimensions environed it, 
and rose to a great height even on the side towards 
the river, where the precipitous cliffs themselves dis- 
couraged all attempts at escalade. The approach 
from the north had been protected by barbicans and 
outworks of double strength. These defences had 
been designed and perfected by Wamba, the last of 
the Gothic kings whose martial genius had, for a 
brief period, revived the glorious traditions and long 
forgotten exploits of the ancient dynasty. The im- 
perial capital, a citadel in itself, where all the resources 
of a vast monarchy had been lavished and all the 
knowledge of military engineering of the age had 
been employed to insure the safety of the court, now 
trembled in the presence of a few thousand roving 
barbarians. The dread which was associated with the 
unknown enemy was augmented by the rapidity of 
his movements, which to the superstitious fears of the 
Visigoths made him appear ubiquitous. A sufficient 
military force had been available to defend this fort- 
ress, but the sentiments of patriotism, loyalty, and 
courage, so essential to the preservation of obedience 
and discipline, had disappeared. Instead of pre- 
paring for resistance, each individual thought only 
of his own preservation, when news arrived that the 
foe was approaching. The majority of the citizens, 
leaving their possessions, fled to Galicia and the As- 
turias. The lawless soldiers of the garrison pillaged 
the deserted houses, and stripped without hindrance 
the defenceless fugitives. The clergy, considering the 
evil as only temporary, walled up the treasures of 
chapel and convent in crypts, where to-day the 
greater portion of them still remain undiscovered. 
The primate, laden with the most precious effects of 
the churches, and leaving his ecclesiastical inferiors to 
contend for the prize of martyrdom offered by the 
infidel, accompanied his terrified parishioners in their 

240 History of the 

flight, nor did he arrest his steps until safe within the 
walls of Rome. A disorderly rabble of priests and 
monks, actuated either by faith or indolence, remain- 
ing at their posts, endeavored to avert the impending 
calamity by fasting, prayer, and pilgrimage to the 
innumerable shrines situated both within and without 
the city. Unfortunately, however, no divine response 
was vouchsafed to these last frantic efforts of a 
despairing hierarchy. The waving pennons and 
sparkling lances of the Arab cavalry appeared in the 
distance, and their light and active squadrons swept 
around the walls. The fields were laid waste. The 
convents and the villas which embellished the suburbs 
were razed to the ground or burnt. Every unlucky 
straggler was compelled, at the point of the sword, 
to renounce the religion of his fathers or submit to 
the fate of a slave. In a town deserted by its garri- 
son, half depopulated, without provisions, deprived 
of every prospect of relief, and principally occupied 
by non-combatants and Jews who were in sympathy 
with the enemy, no idea of resistance could be enter- 
tained. The usual conditions offered by the Moslems 
were eagerly accepted. All had permission to retire 
who desired to do so, with the understanding that such 
abandonment of their homes involved a forfeiture of 
every description of property. Those who preferred 
to remain were assured of protection, under payment 
of a reasonable tribute. Both Jews and Christians 
were indulged in the practice of their religious rites; 
but half of the churches were confiscated for the use 
of Islam, and no new houses of worship could be con- 
structed without permission of the government. The 
tributaries were left subject to their own laws, en- 
forced by their own tribunals, as long as these did not 
conflict with the policy of the dominant power. No 
impediments to proselytism were tolerated, and severe 
punishment was denounced against such as should 

Moorish Empire in Europe 241 

offer intimidation or insult to Christian renegades. 
Such were the terms imposed upon the inhabitants 
of the Peninsula by the generous policy of the con- 
queror; a pleasing contrast to the brutality of the 
barbarians, the duplicity of Carthage, and the avarice 
and selfishness of Rome. 

Notwithstanding the most valuable treasures of the 
imperial capital had been carried away by the fleeing 
population, the plunder secured by the Moslems was 
immense, and even their rapacity, ordinarily insatiable, 
was for once appeased. The variety and number of 
the precious objects which met their bewildered gaze 
was so great, that the rude warriors of the Atlas not 
infrequently turned aside from the splendid vestments 
and jewel-studded furniture destined for the service 
of the Church, to more portable and gorgeous baubles 
which caught their momentary fancy. It is related by 
the most accurate of the Christian and Moorish chron- 
iclers, that two Berbers, having found an altar-cloth 
of gold brocade enriched with rows of hyacinths and 
emeralds which was too heavy for them to carry, cut 
out that portion containing the jewels and rejected 
the balance as worthless. Another, who had secured 
a golden vase filled with pearls, kept the precious 
receptacle, but, ignorant of their value, cast away 
its contents. In the cathedral were found many votive 
crowns of gold, each inscribed with the name of a 
Gothic king. The confusion incident to a hasty 
flight had left in the religious houses of every de- 
scription a vast amount of wealth, which fell into the 
hands of the conqueror. An apartment was dis- 
covered in the palace occupied by Tarik which was 
literally filled with the treasures and royal insignia 
of the various dynasties which had for ages swayed 
the fortunes of the Visigothic monarchy. Chains and 
diadems, urns and uncut jewels, sceptres, richly deco- 
rated weapons, costly armor, robes of cloth of gold, 

Vol. I. 16 

242 History of the 

have been enumerated among the spoil by the his- 
torians of the time ; by the Christian, with regret and 
shame, by the Mohammedan, with all the exultation 
of victory. 

After the surrender of the capital, Tarik, leaving 
the city in charge of his faithful adherents, the Jews, 
at once advanced northward in pursuit of the retreat- 
ing Goths. The latter, in every instance when it was 
possible, upon the appearance of the cloud of tur- 
baned horsemen, abandoned their burdens and took 
refuge in the mountain fastnesses. Overtaking a 
body of fugitives a short distance beyond Toledo, 
Tarik captured a magnificent table, or lectern used 
to support the Gospels which had belonged to the 
cathedral ; whose origin the romantic credulity of that 
age attributed to Solomon, and supposed to be a por- 
tion of the booty brought by Titus from the sack of 
Jerusalem; but which more reliable accounts have 
demonstrated to have been the handiwork of Visi- 
gothic artisans. The body and framework of this 
precious jewel were of the purest gold. Into it were 
inserted alternate rows of hyacinths, rubies, pearls, 
and emeralds, and, as it was the custom of each mon- 
arch to contribute something to its embellishment, 
royal emulation had exhausted itself to surpass the 
efforts of preceding reigns in the decoration of an 
object whose sanctity made it more priceless in the 
eyes of the superstitious than even the inestimable 
value of its materials and ornamentation. It stood 
upon four feet, the latter being so encrusted with 
emeralds as to convey the impression that each was 
formed of a single stone. This table, whose estimated 
value was five hundred thousand crowns, and which 
has been described with such exaggeration as to have 
even aroused the doubts of historical critics concern- 
ing its existence, was set aside with the portion of the 
spoil destined for the Khali f. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 243 

The capture of Toledo was the last important ex- 
ploit of the Berber general, whose success could not 
atone for the gross insubordination of which he was 
guilty. A few other cities had been taken, a large 
area of territory had been ravaged, when the news 
of the approach of Musa, and the anticipation of his 
commander's wrath, suddenly checked the career of 
Tarik in the full flush of conquest and glory. 

The fame and popularity of the latter as well as 
the report of the vast riches amassed by him had 
excited, to the full measure of their malignity, the 
envy and the hatred of Musa. The adventurers who 
had hastened to Iberia to serve under the standard 
of Tarik had depleted the garrisons of Africa, and 
it was fourteen months after the main expedition had 
sailed before Musa was able to muster a sufficient 
force to take the field in person. Crossing the strait 
with a numerous body of troops which included 
representatives of the most distinguished families of 
Arabia, many of whom had enjoyed the rare dis- 
tinction of being friends of the Companions of the 
Prophet, as well as the flower of the African sol- 
diery he disembarked at Ghezirah-al-Khadra. His 
jealousy of the success of Tarik, and the certainty 
that the Berbers had left no city or hamlet unplun- 
dered in their march, led Musa to desire to proceed 
to Toledo by a different route. Informed of his wish, 
his guides promised to gratify him, and place within 
his power cities of far greater extent and magnificence 
than those which had submitted to his rebellious lieu- 
tenant. They conducted him first to Carmona, which, 
like most of the other towns of Andalusia, had cast 
off the Moslem yoke as soon as the departure of 
the army of Tarik had inspired its inhabitants with 
confidence; and this well-fortified place, despite its 
strength, seems to have at once yielded to the sum- 
mons of the invader. Seville, then as now one of the 

244 History of the 

largest, wealthiest, and most beautiful cities of Spain, 
was next besieged. One month sufficed to reduce it, 
but not without many bloody engagements, in which 
the Moslems sustained considerable loss. A garrison 
was left in the citadel, and Musa marched upon 
Merida, famous from the days of the Romans for its 
massive fortifications, its imposing public works, and 
the architectural grandeur and richness of its temples. 
Founded by the veterans of Augustus, and honored 
with his name, Merida still retained, in the eighth 
century, a few of the stupendous memorials of her 
pristine splendor, which nearly three hundred years 
before had so impressed the astonished barbarians of 
Germany, and now exerted their awe-inspiring in- 
fluence upon the simple and superstitious tribesmen 
of Africa and Arabia. The partiality of the Roman 
emperors had lavished upon this provincial capital 
treasures that had enabled its citizens to raise 
structures rivalling those of Rome itself. Bridges, 
of such extraordinary length and huge proportions 
as to almost defy the efforts of modern science to 
demolish them, crossed the sandy bed of the sluggish 
Guadiana. Aqueducts, suspended upon tiers of 
graceful arches, traversed, high in air, the popu- 
lous and highly cultivated plain. Monuments of 
the reigns of Hadrian and Trajan spanned the 
streets and towered in the forum. In the suburbs 
stood the theatre, the circus, and the naumachia; 
buildings worthy of the taste and grandeur of any 
city of the empire. The population was one of the 
most prosperous and opulent in the kingdom. The 
archiepiscopal see of Merida vied in dignity and in- 
fluence with the primacy of Toledo. It had not been 
many years since the vassals and slaves of the metro- 
politan, to the number of nearly a thousand, glitter- 
ing with jewels and cloth of gold, had dazzled the 
eyes of the populace, and excited the envy of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 245 

nobles, while participating in the ceremonial pag- 
eantry of the Church exhibitions so well adapted 
to impress the beholder with the greatness, the pomp, 
and the resources of ecclesiastical power. Well might 
the enthusiasm of the predatory Arab be excited by 
the architectural magnificence and historic souvenirs of 
the far-famed capital of Lusitania ! While the gigan- 
tic proportions of its edifices called forth his admira- 
tion, and led him to attribute their erection to giants 
and demons, his avarice was, at the same time, stimu- 
lated by the thought of the booty to be obtained by the 
pillage of a place of such extent and importance. But 
the inhabitants, worthy of the renown of their an- 
cestors, and undismayed by the sudden appearance 
of an unknown foe, did not hesitate to engage him 
on equal terms. A series of combats followed, in 
which the valor of the besieged acquired for them a 
temporary advantage. In the face of such deter- 
mined resistance, and wholly unacquainted with the 
methods of carrying on a siege, the Moslems began 
to falter. But their veteran commander, confident 
in his skill, now brought to bear the experience which 
he had acquired in many hard-fought campaigns in 
Syria and Africa. The city was completely block- 
aded. Every foraging party which issued from the 
gates was intercepted and captured or cut to pieces. 
The stratagems of Berber warfare were adopted to 
the confusion of an intrepid but unwary enemy. De- 
tachments which sallied forth to attack the besieging 
lines were lured into ambush and annihilated. Mili- 
tary engines familiar to that age were constructed, 
but the activity and courage of the Visigoths were 
such that, although breaches were made, no forlorn 
hope could effect a lodgment within the fortifications ; 
and one which succeeded in penetrating them a cir- 
cumstance which gave to the place where it occurred 
the suggestive name of the Tower of the Martyrs 

246 History of the 

was destroyed to a man. Each day, with the rising 
of the sun, the battle was renewed, and Musa saw 
with rage and apprehension his well-tried veterans 
and the bravest of his officers perish before his eyes. 
The fortifications appeared impregnable; and had it 
not been for the opportune arrival of Abd-al-Aziz, 
the son of the Arab general, with a reinforcement of 
seven thousand cavalry and five thousand crossbow- 
men, the Moslems would have been compelled to aban- 
don the undertaking. Disheartened by this change 
in their fortunes, and beginning to suffer from a 
scarcity of provisions, the inhabitants of Merida now 
made overtures for a surrender. Although in the 
position of suppliants, the envoys provoked the re- 
sentment of Musa by their demeanor, and several 
conferences were necessary before the citizens would 
condescend to accept the usual terms of capitula- 
tion. When all had been arranged and hostages de- 
livered, the Moslem army took possession of the city. 
Great wealth fell into the hands of the grasping 
Musa, who appropriated as his slave Egilona, the 
captive widow of Roderick, a princess whose sub- 
sequent marriage to his son Abd-al-Aziz was the 
source of many calamities to his family and nation. 

The heroic defence of Merida had inspired with 
the hope of freedom the cities of the South, upon 
whom the Moslem yoke but recently imposed sat 
lightly, and Seville, Malaga, Granada, and Jaen 
rose simultaneously in revolt. The attention of 
Musa was first directed to Seville, the latest and 
most valuable of his recent acquisitions. The rebels 
of that city had massacred thirty men of the garri- 
son and put the rest to flight, while the Jews, true 
to the instincts of a people long degraded by servi- 
tude, not only refused to assist their allies, but hast- 
ened with cringing servility to make peace once more 
with their old oppressors. For this defection, a ter- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 247 

rible retribution was exacted. Abd-al-Aziz carried 
the place by storm, and put to death without mercy 
every Christian and Hebrew male who was found 
within its walls. The Moslems, taught by experience 
the imperative necessity of colonization, and being 
now in sufficient numbers to justify a division of their 
forces, placed a strong garrison in Seville; while the 
confiscated lands were partitioned among the natives 
of Arabia the Happy present with the invading army, 
who hastened to take possession of the luxurious 
estates of the Gothic merchants and nobility. This 
was the first instance of the settlement of conquered 
territory by the natives of a particular country, after- 
wards so common under Mohammedan rule ; a stroke 
of policy whose effects are to this day apparent in 
the traditions, the dialects, the customs, and the popu- 
lar superstitions of the different provinces of Spain. 
Abd-al-Aziz easily reduced to obedience the remain- 
ing rebellious cities of Andalusia, which, colonized in 
like manner, remained ever faithful to their allegi- 
ance. A portion of Murcia was also occupied; and 
unusually advantageous terms were, at the surrender 
of Orihuela, accorded to the Christians through the 
address of the Gothic general Theodomir, whom, 
after the death of Roderick, a faction of the Goths 
had invested with the supreme command. 

The authorities are so contradictory that it is im- 
possible to ascertain how far into the enemy's country 
Tarik penetrated after the capture of Toledo. It is 
probable, however, that his operations were mere in- 
roads, destitute of historical importance. The spirit 
of the nation was broken; its armies were scattered; 
its leaders killed or enslaved; its capital in the hands 
of the enemy. The subjugation of the Peninsula 
was virtually ended, and the successful general could 
well afford to rest upon his laurels and devise means 
to avert the just indignation of his superior, provoked 

248 History of the 

by flagrant disobedience to his orders, an offence 
which under the strict regulations of military law 
was punishable with death. 

The two captains met at Talavera, whither Tarik 
in his anxiety had advanced, attended by his officers 
and loaded with costly presents, the choicest spoil of 
the Visigothic capital. The envious spirit of Musa, 
however, was not to be appeased by gifts whose 
splendor only served to suggest the greater value of 
the plunder which he had lost. He assailed his in- 
subordinate lieutenant with bitter reproaches, and, 
forgetting the magnitude of his recent services, even 
went so far as to remind him of his former servile 
condition by striking him in the presence of the entire 
army. Then placing him under arrest, he hurried to 
Toledo, and ordered him instantly to collect and de- 
liver all the booty which had fallen into his hands at 
the surrender of the city. Of the latter, the so-called 
table of Solomon, whose fame had long before 
reached Musa, was by far the most valuable. Tarik, 
thoroughly cognizant of the baseness and injustice of 
his commander, and suspecting that he would appro- 
priate as his own the credit of this important prize, 
with an astuteness worthy of his Berber origin, had 
secretly removed one of its emerald-studded feet. In 
this condition it was delivered to Musa, who, being 
assured that it was thus mutilated when found, had 
the missing foot replaced with one of gold; no jewels 
of corresponding size being obtainable, although the 
collections of individuals and the coffers of the Gothic 
treasury were diligently ransacked for that purpose. 
Musa, having secured the coveted booty, now deprived 
Tarik of his command, and threw him into a dungeon. 
The keen foresight of the Berber chieftain, who knew 
that such a step was only the prelude to assassination, 
did not abandon him in this trying emergency. Hav- 
ing, through the mediation of his friends, succeeded 

Moorish Empire in Europe 249 

in bribing a messenger whom Musa despatched to 
Damascus, a special envoy was sent by the Khalif 
ordering the immediate release of the illustrious cap- 
tain and his restoration to authority. With uncon- 
cealed reluctance Musa complied with the orders 
of his sovereign, and Tarik, relieved of his chains, 
resumed his duties amidst the acclamations of the 
troops. A temporary and apparent reconciliation 
was effected between the antagonistic leaders, who 
in public treated each other with courtesy, but in 
whose hearts smouldered the inextinguishable fires 
of mutual hatred, kindled by unpardonable wrong 
and baffled enmity. With united forces, eager for 
glory, they invaded Aragon. Each horseman was 
provided with a small copper pot, a leathern bag 
for provisions, and a bottle for water; the infantry 
carried nothing but their arms. The camp equipage 
was loaded on trains of pack-mules. Military and 
political considerations required and enforced the 
observance of the strictest discipline. Non-combat- 
ants were unmolested. Pillage was forbidden under 
pain of death, save in actual battle and during the 
storming of cities. The religious prejudices of the 
people were respected, and no property was destroyed 
except when resistance or violence was offered the 
troops. The province was overrun, and its capital, 
Saragossa, taken and settled by adventurers from 
Africa. Upon the inhabitants of this city Musa im- 
posed a fine new in the annals of Islam, denominated 
the Contribution of Blood, which was exacted before 
the army entered the gates and exempted the con- 
quered from annoyance. The Valley of the Ebro 
pleased the colonists, who intermarried with the 
people, and the governor, Hanash-Ibn-Ali, signal- 
ized his administration by the erection of a splendid 
mosque, vestiges of which still remain. Catalonia 
and Valencia next submitted to the common fate, and 

250 History of the 

then the two generals, reversing their course, marched 
to the wild region of the West where, among the mist- 
enshrouded sierras of Galicia and the Asturias, the 
remnant of the Visigothic nation, led by its honored 
prelates and indomitable chieftains, had borne its 
venerated relics and its household gods ; to lay under 
such unpromising auspices the foundations of a far 
grander and more powerful empire, destined in after 
years to command the admiration and the terror of 
the world. 

The reports of Musa to the Khali f show that the 
Arabs fully appreciated the value and importance of 
their conquest. " In the clearness of the sky and the 
beauty of its landscape it resembles Syria ; in softness 
of climate even Yemen is not its superior; in profu- 
sion of flowers and delicacy of perfumes it suggests 
the luxury of India; it rivals Egypt in the fertility 
of its soil, and China in the variety and excellence of 
its minerals," wrote the experienced veteran to whom 
the wealth and resources of both Asia and Africa were 
familiar. The multitude of captives acquired by the 
Moslems struck the old general with surprise. " It 
is like the assembly of nations on the Day of Judg- 
ment," he exclaimed; although he doubtless remem- 
bered that Mauritania had yielded its prisoners by the 
hundred thousand, and human chattels were so cheap 
that it was not an unusual occurrence for an able- 
bodied man to be sold in the bazaar of Kairoan for 
a handful of pepper. A female merchant, who dealt 
in trinkets and perfumes, left Toledo after its sur- 
render with five hundred slaves in her train. Thirty 
thousand Christian maidens, selected for their beauty, 
were destined for the markets of the East. The Jews 
especially reaped a rich harvest from the misfortunes 
of their former oppressors. Profiting by the igno- 
rance of the soldiers, they purchased for trifling sums 
the sacred utensils of the altar, the jewels which had 

Moorish Empire in Europe 251 

graced the beauties of the court, and all the rich and 
costly appliances of Gothic luxury. From the Sara- 
cen conquest, with the enormous wealth it afTorded 
them, dates the prominence subsequently attained by 
the Hebrews in the political and financial affairs of 

The strange fatality which preserved for future 
greatness and renown the broken fragments of the 
Visigothic monarchy, even now at the very outset, 
when it seemed inevitable that the entire Peninsula 
should become Mohammedan, asserted its mysterious 
power. Tarik had reached Astorga and Musa was 
still at Lugo, when a message was delivered from 
the Khalif Al-Walid ordering both generals to re- 
turn to Damascus. This step had been resolved upon, 
not so much on account of the mutual hostility of 
the two leaders which, manifested even in their de- 
spatches, seriously impaired the prestige of the Mos- 
lem arms and menaced the stability of the Moslem 
conquests, as from fear lest the ambition of Musa 
might lead him to usurp the sovereignty of the newly 
acquired possessions. Prudential considerations also 
prevented the appointment of Tarik as governor of 
the Peninsula. His popularity was even greater than 
that of Musa, and the remote situation of the con- 
quered territory was but too favorable for the estab- 
lishment of an independent monarchy, whose subjec- 
tion in case of rebellion would be difficult, if not 
impossible. The aspiring genius of the veteran com- 
mander had formed a vast scheme of conquest, a 
project so grand as at first sight to appear extrava- 
gant, yet which, after careful examination, might be 
considered far from impracticable. It was his wish to 
emulate the example and surpass the achievement of 
Hannibal by traversing Europe, and to meet before 
the walls of Constantinople an army which could 
co-operate with him in the siege and capture of the 

252 History of the 

Byzantine capital. Had this gigantic design been 
realized, the domain of the Khalifate of 4 Damascus 
would have far exceeded the limits of the Roman 
Empire. He had seen with what ease the Visigothic 
kingdom, possessed of incalculable wealth, and ani- 
mated by the military traditions of three centuries, 
had been subverted in a day. The unprecedented 
success of their recent military operations had in- 
duced the fanatical and credulous soldiery to regard 
themselves as the special favorites of Allah. It was 
moreover a matter of common notoriety that the able 
chieftain who had crushed, and then converted, the 
hitherto independent tribes of the Libyan Desert and 
the Atlas Mountains, and swept resistlessly over the 
plains of the Peninsula, had, in campaigns which ex- 
tended over an entire generation, never failed in an 
enterprise or lost a battle. The very mention of a 
crusade against the infidel roused the wildest passions 
in the Moslem's heart. Unlimited treasure was avail- 
able for any undertaking, however extensive; a con- 
sideration of but little moment, however, with a force 
accustomed to be paid in booty, and whose subsistence 
was wrested from the enemy. The barbarian mon- 
archy of France, perpetually vexed by internal dissen- 
sions, was not likely to offer more serious impediments 
to invasion than those which had vanished before the 
tempest of the Guadalete. Was it then chimerical for 
Musa to hope that, with the combined aid of his own 
genius and the invincible prowess of his veterans, he 
might add to the domains of the successor of Mo- 
hammed the fairest regions of Europe, in the very 
seat of the Papacy proclaim from the towers of the 
Eternal City the doctrines of Islam, and, passing 
eastward, exchange greetings upon the shores of the 
Bosphorus with his friends and brethren of Syria? 
This plan of conquest, doubtless suggested by the 
invasion of the Carthaginian general, but which 

Moorish Empire in Europe 253 

promised far more important results, owing to the 
thoroughly disorganized condition of the provinces 
once constituting the Roman Empire, an enterprise 
worthy of the ambition and daring of any military 
leader, was unhesitatingly condemned by the sus- 
picious Khalif, who saw in its successful execution 
the portentous menace of a rival monarchy. With 
inexpressible grief and vexation, yet, to some degree, 
sustained by the hope that a personal interview might 
accomplish what written explanation had failed to do, 
Musa prepared to obey the mandate of his sovereign. 
In furtherance of this resolution, and to gratify a not 
unreasonable vanity, he determined to parade before 
the court and populace of Damascus the trophies of 
Africa and Spain with a pomp proportionate to the 
splendor of those conquests. 

A general rendezvous was appointed at Seville, now 
designated as the capital of the kingdom, by reason of 
its proximity to the sea, and its ease of access to the 
Moslem settlements of Africa. There were assembled 
the spoil of palaces, the sacrilegious plunder of 
churches, the booty of many a battle-field, the throngs 
of noble captives, the insignia of fallen royalty. 
Ponderous vehicles were constructed for the convey- 
ance of this treasure, whose value for once exceeded 
the wildest estimates of Oriental exaggeration. When 
all was ready, Musa, having appointed his son Abd- 
al-Aziz viceroy during his absence, crossed over to 
Ceuta. In obedience to orders issued previously to 
his arrival, every town of Al-Maghreb in the line of 
march contributed its contingent to increase the mag- 
nificence of the triumph. The fierce chieftains of 
Mauritania trooped after the victor in the character 
of warriors, proselytes, or slaves. Heaped in pictu- 
resque confusion upon endless strings of camels were 
the primitive spoils of the Desert rude weapons, 
defensive armor, wearing apparel, and coarse trap- 

254 History of the 

pings upon which had been lavished all the resources 
of barbaric decoration. Hundreds of the wild and 
beautiful Kabyle maidens, selected for their superior 
charms and fettered with chains of gold, toiled wearily 
along the dusty roads which ultimately led to the dis- 
tant harems of Syria. Four hundred Gothic nobles, 
in whose veins coursed the royal blood, clothed in gor- 
geous robes secured by golden girdles, and crowned 
with diadems, represented the departed fortunes of 
the dynasties of Iberia. Thirty wagons hardly suf- 
ficed to convey the enormous quantities of gold, silver, 
and precious stones objects of public ostentation, 
private luxury, and personal adornment the gem- 
encrusted receptacles of the Host, the costly vessels 
of the mass, besides other and innumerable mementos 
of the most finished efforts of Visigothic opulence and 
Byzantine art. Among the guards of Musa, splen- 
didly equipped, rode descendants of the proudest 
families of the Koreish, and the most distinguished 
officers of the Moslem army. In the rear of this brill- 
iant cavalcade followed, to the number of more than 
a hundred thousand, the less important captives taken 
in the campaigns of Africa and Spain. 

Arrived at Kairoan, Musa divided the government 
of Africa among his three sons Abdallah, Abd-al- 
Melik, and Abd-al-Ala, in the hope of perpetuating 
in his family the authority which he realized that he 
now held by an uncertain tenure, and then resumed his 

Tidings of his approach having preceded him, the 
wanderers of the Desert and the inhabitants of the 
cities of the coast alike poured forth in countless mul- 
titudes to do him honor. It was a strange and impres- 
sive spectacle, one which had not been seen since the 
laurel-crowned victor, preceded by his trophies and 
his captives, had traversed the streets of Rome amid 
the acclamations of the populace, to deposit his offer- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 255 

ings upon the shrine of the Capitoline Jupiter. With 
the progress of the triumphal procession the number 
of curious spectators increased, reaching its culmina- 
tion at Cairo, where the way was blocked by the teem- 
ing myriads from the banks of the Nile. During the 
course of the journey, Musa, elated beyond measure 
by the adulation heaped upon him, was prompted to 
the commission of an act of tyranny which seriously 
prejudiced his fortunes. Desirous of neglecting no 
opportunity of magnifying his importance, and ut- 
terly unscrupulous in appropriating the credit due to 
others, he demanded of Mugayth-al-Jtumi the cap- 
tive governor of Cordova, whom the latter held as 
his slave, and designed as a present to the Khalif. 
Upon the refusal of that officer to comply with his 
demand, Musa ordered the immediate execution of 
the Gothic prince, and by this deed of violence and 
injustice increased the enmity of Mugayth-al-Rumi, 
whose sympathies had already been enlisted on the 
side of Tarik, his friend and former comrade in arms. 
Hardly had Musa passed the borders of Syria, when 
there was placed in his hands a secret message from 
Suleyman, heir presumptive of the Khalifate, an- 
nouncing the fatal illness of his brother Al-Walid, 
and desiring him not to advance further until he re- 
ceived authentic information of the death of his sov- 
ereign. Suleyman was induced to make this request, 
not only on account of the prestige which his accession 
to the throne would derive by the public exhibition of 
the vast plunder of the nations of the West, but also 
because the personal gifts presented to the family of 
the Khalif, presumably of immense value, would be 
lost to his successor. Musa, however, whose native 
tact and shrewdness seem to have been diminished by 
age and disappointment, paid no attention to the rep- 
resentations of Suleyman; and without an hour's de- 
lay marched on to Damascus. He entered the city on 

256 History of the 

Friday, and proceeding to the great mosque, where 
Al-Walid was at prayer, entered at the head of the 
captive nobles and chieftains, all of whom were clothed 
in the costumes of their respective countries and 
adorned with the insignia of their rank. After the 
service the Khali f embraced Musa, clothed him with 
his own robe, and presented him with fifty thousand 
dinars, in addition to pensioning his sons and the most 
worthy of his subordinates. The inferior captives 
and the royal fifth were then placed in the custody 
of the officers of the Treasury. The wonderful table 
was, as Tarik had conjectured it would be, claimed 
by Musa, who, on being interrogated concerning the 
golden foot, declared it was in that condition when 
he found it. Thereupon, Tarik, who was present, ad- 
vanced, claimed the honor of the capture, and after 
relating the stratagem he had practised, produced the 
missing portion in corroboration of his testimony, to 
the speechless rage and confusion of his rival. Al- 
Walid, who estimated this work of art solely by the 
value of its materials, caused the jewels to be removed, 
and then sent the frame of the table as an offering to 
the temple of Mecca. 

Forty days after Musa's arrival at Damascus Al- 
Walid died, and Suleyman ascended the throne. The 
latter, notorious for the ferocity of his disposition and 
the vulgarity and gluttony of his tastes, lost no time 
in imposing upon Musa the full weight of his dis- 
pleasure. The first judicial act of his administration 
was the arraignment of the veteran general, now more 
than eighty years of age. The evidence of corruption, 
extortion, and tyranny, to which Musa could make but 
a feeble defence, having been presented, he was f ound 
guilty, sentenced to be stripped of his property, and 
required to pay a fine of two hundred thousand pieces 
of gold. In addition to this severe penalty, he was 
also forced to remain chained to a post under a blazing 

Moorish Empire in Europe 257 

sun, as a punishment for having publicly reproached 
the Khalif for his ingratitude. Through the interces- 
sion of friends he was released after many hours of 
torture, and permitted to retire from the court, accom- 
panied by a single faithful slave. His remaining 
years were passed in poverty; dependent upon alms, 
he begged his bread from the Bedouin tribes, putting 
aside every dirhem he could obtain to be applied to 
the payment of his fine, until he died in abject wretch- 
edness at Wada-al-Kora, a remote settlement of 
Arabia. Such was the miserable end of one of the 
greatest military leaders Islam ever produced. His 
courage was dauntless, his sagacity almost amounted 
to inspiration, his resources were inexhaustible. His 
zeal, which bordered upon fanaticism, assured him of 
the favor of Allah, and infused into his troops the 
most unbounded confidence in his genius. The bursts 
of his oratory rivalled in eloquence and enthusiasm 
the rhetorical efforts of the greatest preachers of the 
age. He observed the ceremonial of his faith with 
scrupulous diligence. His prudence and the accuracy 
of his perceptions were proverbial. In all his experi- 
ence, where he held command in person, no enemy 
ever prevailed over him. His suspicious nature and 
intuitive knowledge of mankind made him more than 
a match for statesmen whose lives had been passed 
in the atmosphere of courts. Increasing his wealth 
by the most questionable methods, he excluded his 
companions from all participation in his prosperity, 
and under his incessant peculation the royal revenues 
were sensibly diminished, an offence which more than 
all others insured his ruin. Thus, in spite of his ex- 
traordinary talents, his avarice whose gratification 
no bond of friendship, no obligation of loyalty, no 
precept of religion, and no fear of punishment could 
restrain proved his destruction, and the famous com- 
mander who had acquired kingdoms, and accumulated 

Vol. I. 17 

258 History of the 

wealth which excited the envy of princes, died poor 
and despised; an outcast in the centre of a barren 
and lonely region far from the scenes of his glory, 
and an object of curiosity and compassion to the 
barbarian shepherds and brigands of the Desert. His- 
tory is silent as to the fate of Tarik after the settle- 
ment of his controversy with Musa. Had he been 
prominent thereafter in either good or evil fortune, 
it is certain that the Arabian chroniclers would have 
mentioned the fact. It is probable that he was per- 
mitted to pass the remainder of his life in obscurity 
and comfort, if not in luxury ; and it is beyond ques- 
tion that he was not intrusted with any important em- 
ployment; for the jealous court of Damascus feared 
the ambition and the ability of the distinguished 
general who had achieved the most splendid conquest 
of his time. And thus disappeared from the stage 
of the world the second of those noted characters to 
whom was due the acquisition of the beautiful land 
of Iberia by the crown of the Khalifate. Of Count 
Julian, the third and last of them, whom the undis- 
cerning prejudice of monkish writers and the ani- 
mosity of churchman and Spaniard, intensified by 
baffled ambition and injured pride, have for thirty-six 
generations branded with the name of traitor, we 
have accounts but little less unsatisfactory. His na- 
tionality, his antecedents, his relations to the Goths, 
the origin of his appointment as governor of Ceuta, 
the scope of his authority, his obligations to the court 
of Toledo, are, for the most part, matters of con- 
jecture. Even the story of the outrage to his family, 
the immediate cause of his defection, though sup- 
ported by the testimony of almost every Arab chron- 
icler, has been disputed. There are excellent reasons 
for presuming that he occupied the position of a mere 
tributary of the King of the Visigoths, and had 
voluntarily surrendered his daughter as a pledge of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 259 

his fidelity. Under these circumstances his allegiance 
could not have been deeply grounded; and his con- 
duct appears under a less odious aspect than the 
treason of an hereditary vassal would have done, espe- 
cially when it is remembered that he was not the 
aggressor. The general and unqualified abhorrence 
with which his name is associated can be traced to 
ecclesiastical writers, who have neglected no oppor- 
tunity to blacken the character of every political 
adversary, heretic, and apostate in the eyes of pos- 

After the Conquest, Count Julian retired to Ceuta, 
which city, with a portion of the contiguous territory, 
was erected into a principality and bestowed upon him 
as a reward for his services. Notwithstanding his in- 
timate Mohammedan associations, he and his imme- 
diate descendants remained steadfast in the Christian 
faith. The preponderating influence of Islam was, 
however, shown in the second generation of his de- 
scendants; and his great-grandson Abu-Suleyman- 
Ayub, who lived in the tenth century, and had studied 
under the greatest doctors of the time, became famous 
as one of the most acute and learned expounders of 
Moslem jurisprudence. The posterity of Tarik was 
known and esteemed for several centuries in Spain, 
until his identity and remembrance were finally lost in 
the civil wars and proscriptions which accompanied 
the establishment of the dynasty of the Almohades. 

The engagements entered into with their allies were 
performed by the Moslems with scrupulous fidelity. 
Oppas was rewarded with the government of Toledo. 
The royal demesnes, amounting to three thousand of 
the richest estates of the kingdom, were restored to 
the House of Witiza. Many benefits at once resulted 
to the masses from the Arab conquest. The condition 
of the serfs was greatly improved. Tribute was regu- 
lated by law, and ceased to be dependent upon the 

260 History of the 

capricious demands of avarice. The burdens of taxa- 
tion were, however, still excessive ; the cultivator paid 
four-fifths of the products of the land to the owner; 
from those who tilled the public domain which com- 
prised a fifth part of the conquered territory one- 
thir"d of the results of all manual industry was 
exacted. The tax of the landed proprietor was ap- 
proximately twenty per cent, of his income, that of 
the tributary Christian varied from twelve to forty- 
eight dirhems sixteen to sixty-four dollars a year. 
A treaty, whose provisions determined the obligations 
of lord and serf, of subject and sovereign, and 
signed by Tarik and the representatives of the 
Gothic nobility before the arrival of Musa, was sub- 
sequently ratified by the government of Damascus. 
Upon this treaty were based all the laws which gov- 
erned the tributaries in the Peninsula during the long 
period of Moslem dominion. 

Less than fourteen months sufficed for the com- 
plete and irrevocable overthrow of the Visigothic em- 
pire. Within two years, the authority of the Moslem 
was firmly established from the Mediterranean to the 
Pyrenees. History presents no similar instance of 
the celerity, the completeness, the permanence of con- 
quest. Political discord, social disintegration, the un- 
certainty of government, the insubordination of the 
noble, the rapacity of the priest, the despair of the 
slave, were among the most important aids to Moham- 
medan success. The aspirations of all not included in 
the privileged orders were repressed by the inexorable 
tyranny of caste. The middle class, from whose exer- 
tion and industry is necessarily derived the prosperity 
of a nation, had long been absorbed by the vast body 
of serfs whose labors contributed to the wealth, and 
whose numbers swelled the retinues, of the palatine 
and the bishop. The same conditions prevailed which 
had three centuries before heralded the fall of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 261 

Roman Empire. Force dominated everything. The 
spirit of individual freedom, the most prominent 
feature of the Teutonic constitution, had become 
extinct. The royal prerogative was subordinated to 
the claims of the nobility, the latter not, however, 
without protest had fallen under the dominion of 
the priesthood. The prospect of affluence, the enjoy- 
ment of power, the indulgence of luxury, were most 
easily obtained through the avenues of ecclesiastical 
preferment. A long peace, attributable largely to 
geographical isolation, had removed alike the neces- 
sity for martial exercises and the incentives to mili- 
tary distinction. Concentration of power, in spite of 
apparent anarchy, in the end tending to the exercise 
of absolute despotism, had become the controlling 
principle of government. Yet all of these evidences 
of national decadence are scarcely adequate to explain 
the sudden collapse of a great monarchy. Disap- 
pointed ambition, organized treason, the wholesale 
defection of the Jews, contributed their weighty in- 
fluence to hasten and complete the catastrophe. 
Among the Visigoths, patriotism, a quality neces- 
sarily dependent upon individual attachment to one's 
country, was unknown. Public spirit had been sup- 
planted by a thirst for authority, in the gratification 
of which all moral considerations were ignored. The 
facility with which the Peninsula was won offers a 
suggestive contrast to the enormous difficulties which 
attended its reconquest. The fate of the Visigothic 
domination was determined in a week. After two 
short years, nothing remained of its greatness but 
the melancholy souvenirs of an enslaved people. The 
conquerors, in their turn, underwent the same expe- 
rience. The irreconcilable elements of which they 
were composed, from the very beginning disclosed 
the defects of their polity which portended inevitable 
destruction. These elements were far more active 

262 History of the 

and dangerous than those that had undermined the 
strength of the Gothic state. Nevertheless, it re- 
quired many centuries of conflict to expel from 
Western Europe the race whose light-armed horse- 
men had, almost without resistance, swept the country 
from Bsetica to Provence, from the mountains to the 

Thus passed into the hands of another branch of 
the Semitic race a country which, in former ages, had 
long flourished under the rule of Tyre and Carthage. 
Its attractions had been for centuries the theme of 
every poet, its wealth the aim of every conqueror. 
Despite repeated changes of government, invasions, 
conspiracies, revolutions, in its inaccessible fastnesses, 
its autochthons, the Basques, had preserved unim- 
paired their liberty and their national characteristics, 
a fate which distinguished them from all the other 
nations of Europe. On the fields of the Peninsula 
the most renowned soldiers of Rome had learned the 
art of war. The highest civilization of the Teutonic 
race had been attained in its cities. In its tribunals 
the most complete system of jurisprudence the world 
had until then known was perfected. The -dignity of 
its ecclesiastical councils had maintained their inde- 
pendence, and enabled the Spanish hierarchy to with- 
stand alike the insidious plots and the aggressive usur- 
pations of the Papacy. But, of the many races of 
strangers which had established themselves within its 
borders, none had been of such a pronounced and 
original type as that which now occupied all but a 
small corner of its ample domain. The causes which 
led to, and the results which proceeded from, this 
national catastrophe present one of the most curious 
phases of civil organization and mental development. 
That an exotic people should at one blow overturn 
a monarchy of three centuries' duration is certainly 
extraordinary. But that this same people, who pos- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 263 

sessed nothing in common with the vanquished, no 
acquaintance with the arts, no knowledge of civiliza- 
tion, should, in a few years, found an empire whose 
inhabitants had already become eminent in every ac- 
complishment which renders nations learned, illustri- 
ous, and powerful, and be able to take precedence of 
all their contemporaries, is far more extraordinary. 
For an extended period, the affairs of the Peninsula 
had been ripe for a domestic upheaval. Little respect 
remained among the masses for the traditions of a 
monarchy once elective, now nominally hereditary, 
but whose crown was always obtainable by purchase, 
assassination, or intrigue. The piety of the priest- 
hood had been supplanted by an insatiable thirst for 
temporal power. In every part of the body politic 
flourished antagonistic religious doctrines, racial prej- 
udices, factious opinions, and discordant social in- 
terests. The military spirit had disappeared. The 
authority of the civil magistrate was despised. The 
enforcement of the laws was regulated according to 
the rank and influence of the offender rather than 
by the measure of his guilt. Rival candidates for the 
throne contended for the glittering prize with all the 
infamous arts of the conspirator and the demagogue. 
Organized bands of robbers preyed upon the defence- 
less ; and their chieftains, disdaining disguise, stalked 
insolently through the streets of the great cities. 
Boundless luxury and misgovernment had brought in 
their train a degree of corruption which equalled that 
caused by the worst excesses of the Caesars. The 
labors of the husbandman for two successive seasons 
had been fruitless, and hunger and disease in their 
most fearful form contributed in no small degree to 
the accumulated misery of the nation. In every com- 
munity the members of a united and isolated sect 
under the ban of sanguinary laws, yet still powerful 
in intellect, in wealth, and in political craft, labored as 

264 History of the 

one man for the humiliation of their enemies and their 
own emancipation. At first the invasion was con- 
sidered as a mere inroad, and no one supposed that 
the occupation of the country would be permanent. 
With the settlement of colonies, the opening of sea- 
ports to the commerce of the East, the partition of 
lands, and the erection of mosques, however, the Visi- 
goths recognized the full extent of the calamity which 
had befallen them. But the moderation of their new 
rulers tempered the bitterness of defeat. The pay- 
ment of tribute, proportioned to the degree of resist- 
ance or obedience to the laws, insured protection to 
the humblest peasant. The orthodox zealot was 
allowed to perform the ceremonies of his ritual with- 
out interference; the heretic could offer his petitions 
without apprehension from the furious efforts of 
sectarian hatred. Ecclesiastical dignitaries exercised 
in peace the functions of their calling, and the 
monkish chronicler penned fierce anathemas against 
his indulgent masters within hearing of the call to 
prayer from a hundred minarets. The accounts of 
Catholic writers, in which the most flagrant outrages 
are attributed to the Saracens, are manifestly exag- 
gerations or falsehoods. Still, there can be no doubt 
that the inevitable accidents of warfare were produc- 
tive of much suffering. An inconsiderable number 
of monks, whose clamors and insulting demeanor 
made them conspicuously offensive, were martyred. 
A few hundred nuns exchanged the orthodox com- 
panionship of canons and bishops for the delights of 
the seraglio. Fields of grain were given to the torch. 
Magnificent villas were levelled with the ground. 
Altars were despoiled of their treasures and sacred 
relics trodden under foot. But no pledge of security 
was violated ; and absolute immunity in person, prop- 
erty, and religion was afforded by timely submission 
a privilege appreciated by the majority of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 265 

people, and contemned only by kitemperate fanatics 
who cursed the generous enemy whose prosperity they 
shared and whose indulgence they abused. 

The ancient judicature was respected, and its regu- 
lations, subordinated to the legal procedure of the 
ruling power, were permitted to prevail among the 
vanquished, so far as they did not directly conflict with 
those of the Code of Islam. By its example of equity, 
toleration, and mercy, the new government rapidly 
gained the attachment of its subjects; the Jew pros- 
pered, the Christian forgot his bigotry, and the slave 
eagerly repeated the formula which released him from 
bondage and placed him on an equality with kings. 

In the dark recesses of the cloister, without knowl- 
edge of the outer world, without gratitude for the 
clemency which permitted him to live, without appre- 
ciation of the increasing benefits of civilization, the 
surly friar, alone in his malice and his ignorance, 
nourished a spirit of sullen animosity, and with 
scourge and haircloth performed his frequent pen- 
ance; listening, with a vague foreboding of even 
greater evil to his Church and order, to the muezzin's 
daily repetition of that ominous monotheistic maxim 
ever before the eyes of the fanatic Moslem, whether 
it appeared carved amidst the marble foliage of his 
temples, or, emblazoned upon his banners in letters of 
gold, it glittered in the van of his victorious armies 
" There is no God but the Immortal, the Eternal, 
who neither begets nor was begotten, and who hath 
neither companion nor equal." 

266 History of the 




Abd-al-Aziz His Wise Administration His Execution ordered 
by the Khalif Ayub-Ibn-Habib His Reforms Al-Horr 
Al-Samh His Invasion of France His Defeat and 
Death Abd-al-Rahman Feud of the Maadites and Kah- 
tanites Its Disastrous Effects Anbasah-Ibn-Sohim His 
Ability He penetrates to the Rhone and is killed Yahya- 
Ibn-Salmah Othman-Ibn-Abu-Nesa Hodheyfa-Ibn-al- 
Awass Al-Haytham-Ibn-Obeyd Mohammed-Ibn-Ab- 
dallah Abd-al-Rahman His Popularity Proclaims the 
Holy War Treason of Othman-Ibn-Abu-Nesa The Emir 
attempts the Conquest of France Character of Charles 
Martel Battle of Poitiers Death of Abd-al-Rahman 
Abd-al-Melik Okbah-Ibn-al-Hejaj His Wisdom and Ca- 
pacity Charles Martel ravages Provence Berber Revolt 
in Africa Victory of the Rebels Abd-al-Melik-Ibn- 
Kottam Balj-Ibn-Beschr Thalaba Abu-al-Khattar 
Condition of Western Europe Unstable and Corrupt Ad- 
ministration of the Emirs Importance of the Battle of 

The principle of hereditary right, although it oc- 
cupied no place in the polity of Mohammed, was 
denounced by the Koran, and repudiated by the 
Arabs of ancient times, had been, since the dynasty 
of the Ommeyades attained to power, to a certain 
extent tacitly recognized by the subjects of the 
khalifs. Although the latter dignity was among 
orthodox Mussulmans still elective, like the office 
of an Arab sheik, the Persian schismatics had, for 
some generations, accustomed themselves to con- 
sider the descendants of Ali as the only legal 
Successors of the Prophet, to whom had been 
transmitted the inalienable prerogatives of regal 

Moorish Empire in Europe 267 

power and even the sacred attributes of divinity. 
The ambition of the sovereigns of Damascus had 
been occasionally gratified by the accession of their 
sons to the throne, a result not unfrequently accom- 
plished by means of questionable character. When 
the loyalty of the nobles and the obsequious devotion 
of the multitude were not sufficient to enable him to 
attain the desired end, the Khalif did not hesitate to 
use bribery, threats, and even assassination, to per- 
petuate the coveted dignity in his family. From the 
monarch this natural principle a species of hero- 
worship, so common as to be almost universal, and 
exhibiting its tendencies even in the administration of 
the greatest of modern republics descended to the 
prominent officials of the empire and to their subordi- 
nates the walis, the governors of provinces and cities. 
For these reasons, the appointment by Musa of his 
three sons to be respectively emirs of East and West 
Africa and Spain was regarded by the Moslem pop- 
ulation of those countries and by the army as the 
exercise of a prescriptive right which scarcely re- 
quired the formal confirmation of the sovereign. 
Notwithstanding the ferocious and jealous temper 
of Suleyman, and the fact that he had heaped upon 
Musa injuries which were unpardonable, he, for 
some time, permitted the sons of the conqueror of 
Al-Maghreb and Andaluz to exercise without moles- 
tation the functions of their several emirates. Abd- 
al-Aziz, to whom had been assigned the difficult task 
of the political reorganization of the Peninsula, a 
task which involved the erection of one system of 
government upon the ruins of another which had 
nothing in common with, and much that was hostile 
to, it, entered upon his duties with all the energy and 
tact of an accomplished soldier and statesman. Some 
cities removed from the immediate influence of the 
conquerors had renounced their allegiance and refused 

268 History of the 

the customary tribute. These were speedily reduced 
to submission. The convention of Musa with Theo- 
domir, the Gothic tributary of Murcia, was solemnly 
ratified. Detachments under different commanders 
were despatched to the North and West, who carried 
the Moslem arms to the shores of Lusitania and the 
mountains of Biscay and Navarre. Castles were built 
for the protection of the frontiers, and garrisons of 
important towns placed under the command of ex- 
perienced officers of tried fidelity. A Divan or Coun- 
cil was established. Receivers of taxes and magis- 
trates were appointed to conduct the civil departments 
of the administration. Secure in the protection of 
their own laws and the enjoyment of their ancient 
religious privileges, the Mohammedan yoke was 
hardly felt by the Christian population, whose re- 
strictions were confined to a show of outward respect 
for the institutions of their masters and the regular 
payment of tribute. All acts of violence and op- 
pression were punished, and public confidence was 
restored. The peasants rebuilt their cottages; the 
labors of the agriculturist, interrupted by civil com- 
motion and foreign encroachment, were resumed; the 
grass-grown thoroughfares of the cities once more 
echoed with the welcome sounds of traffic, and the sad 
traces of many successive years of warfare and devas- 
tation began to gradually disappear from the face of 
the Peninsula. 

But, however equitable was the civil administration 
of Abd-al-Aziz, its beneficent effects in the eyes of 
both Moslems and Christians were more than neu- 
tralized by the excesses and licentious violence of his 
private life. In the gratification of passions strong 
even for an Oriental, his conduct surpassed the ordi- 
nary limits of brutal tyranny. The fairest maids 
and matrons of the Gothic population crowded his 
seraglio ; and even the homes of noble Arabians were 

Moorish Empire in Europe 269 

not secure from the visitations of his eunuchs. Egi- 
lona, the queen of Roderick, having fallen into his 
hands, became first his concubine and afterwards his 
wife. She was indulged in the practice of her re- 
ligion, an unusual privilege for one in her position; 
and, by the unbounded influence she soon acquired 
over her husband, succeeded in sensibly alleviating the 
miseries of her countrymen. Her beauty, her vast 
wealth, which she had secured by a timely submission 
and the payment of tribute, and her talents, which 
appear to have been of no mean order, added to the 
ambition once more to sit upon a throne, soon made 
themselves felt in the affairs of government. She 
began to direct the policy of the Emir, to the disgust 
and apprehension of the members of the Divan and 
the officers of the army. She imprudently attempted 
to introduce the ceremonial of the Visigothic court, 
which required the prostration of all who approached 
the throne of the monarch; a custom repugnant as 
yet both to the equality and independence recom- 
mended by the precepts of the Koran and to the 
proud spirit of the Arab. By her advice the treaty 
was concluded with Theodomir, who thereby acquired 
for life the sovereignty of the beautiful province of 
Murcia. The exercise of such authority was con- 
sidered by pious Moslems as boding ill to the empire 
of Islam when enjoyed by a woman and an infidel. 
The rumor spread that Abd-al-Aziz, helpless under 
the fatal spell of this sorceress, was meditating apos- 
tasy and aspiring to independent power. These re- 
ports, which derived some color of probability from 
the universal belief of the multitude, the personal 
popularity and well-known ambition of the Emir, and 
his presumed desire to avenge the wrongs of his 
father, were communicated to the Khali f, who deter- 
mined to at once remove all danger from any designs 
of the sons of Musa. Orders were accordingly de- 

270 History or the 

spatched to five of the principal officers of the army 
of occupation in Spain to put Abd-al-Aziz to death. 
The first who opened and read the commands of the 
Khalif was Habib-Ibn-Obeidah, an old and valued 
friend of the family of Musa. His distress may be 
imagined ; but the order was peremptory, and the ties 
of friendship, the sentiments of gratitude, the remi- 
niscences of social intimacy, were not to be considered 
by the devout Moslem when was interposed the im- 
perious mandate of the Successor of the Prophet of 
God. Having consulted with each other, the execu- 
tioners, who feared the vengeance of the army, de- 
voted as it was to its chief, determined to kill Abd- 
al-Aziz while at his devotions. It was the custom of 
the Emir to pass much of his time at a summer palace 
in the suburbs of Seville, attached to which was a 
private mosque. Here, while upon his knees reciting 
the morning prayer, he was attacked and despatched 
without resistance. His body was buried in the court 
of the palace, and his head a sanguinary proof of 
the obedience of his assassins was sent in a box filled 
with camphor to Suleyman at Damascus. Thus 
perished one of the most distinguished captains of 
the age, whose talents and dexterity promised a rapid 
solution of the difficult questions of policy which con- 
fronted the new rulers of Spain, and whose gentle and 
considerate treatment of the vanquished conspicuous 
amidst the repulsive asperity of barbarian manners 
proved his destruction. A few weeks elapsed, and his 
brethren, the emirs of Africa, followed him by the 
hand of the executioner. The fate of his unfortu- 
nate consort, Egilona, is unknown. In common with 
King Roderick and his conqueror Tarik, with Count 
Julian and the sons of Witiza, her future, after a 
remarkable career, passes into oblivion. It is not a 
little singular that so many of the most conspicuous 
personages of their time should all, one after another, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 271 

without any apparent reason, have been thus abruptly 
dismissed by the chroniclers of the age. 

The Khalif, in his haste to destroy the family of 
Musa, had neglected to designate a successor to Abd- 
al-Aziz, and Spain remained for a short time without 
a governor. Realizing the dangers of a protracted 
interregnum among the heterogeneous elements of 
which the inhabitants of the Peninsula were com- 
posed, a number of the Moslems most eminent in 
rank and influence assembled, and, in accordance 
with the ancient custom of the Desert, elected Ayub- 
Ibn-Habib provisional Emir. Ayub was a captain of 
age and experience and the cousin of Abd-al-Aziz. 
His first act was to remove the seat of government 
from Seville to Cordova, on account of the more 
advantageous location of the latter city, destined to 
remain during the domination of the conquerors the 
Mecca of the Occident, the literary centre of the 
Middle Ages, the school of polite manners, the home 
of science and the arts; to be regarded with awe by 
every Moslem, with affectionate veneration by every 
scholar, and with mingled feelings of wonder and 
apprehension by the turbulent barbarians of Western 
Europe. For greater convenience in collecting the 
revenue and restraining the indigenous population, 
the country had been divided into numerous districts, 
governed by walis, inferior officials responsible to the 
Emir. The lives of these magistrates, passed amidst 
the turmoil of revolution, the sack of cities, and the 
slaughter of infidels, rendered them but ill qualified 
to administer the affairs of a nation in time of peace. 
The acts of cruelty and extortion perpetrated by these 
petty tyrants, far removed from the eye of the court, 
had become an intolerable grievance. It devolved on 
Ayub to investigate their official conduct, and many 
of them were deposed and punished. The new Emir 
travelled through his dominions, correcting abuses, 

272 History of the 

building fortresses, repairing the decaying walls of 
cities, encouraging the development and cultivation 
of fields long since abandoned by the farmer, re- 
dressing grievances without distinction of creed or 
nationality, and by every means promoting the 
welfare of his grateful subjects. In those provinces 
which had been depopulated, he established colonies 
of immigrants and adventurers from Africa and the 
East. In others, where the Christians preponderated, 
he settled numbers of Jews and Moslems, whose 
presence might curb the enthusiasm and check the 
aspirations of the implacable enemies of the Moham- 
medan faith. The watch-towers which crowned the 
summits of the Pyrenees and defended the passes 
leading to Narbonnese Gaul that region of mystery 
which the imperfect geography of the Arab had 
designated the Great Land, and the imagination of 
the Oriental had peopled with giants and fabulous 
monsters were strengthened and garrisoned with 
troops whose activity and vigilance had been tested 
in many a scene of toil and danger. Scarcely had 
the administration of Ayub been fairly established, 
before the vindictive spirit of the Khalif demanded 
his removal. Mohammed-Ibn-Yezid, Emir of Africa, 
was ordered to deprive of office all members of the 
tribe of Lakhm, to which Musa had belonged, and Al- 
Horr-Ibn-Abd-al-Rahman was invested with the pre- 
carious dignity of Viceroy of the Peninsula. Four 
hundred representatives of the proudest of the Ara- 
bian nobility, whom zeal for the faith, the love of 
adventure, or the hope of renown had attracted to 
the shores of Africa, accompanied him; warriors, 
many of whose descendants were destined to attain 
to distinction in every rank of civil and military life 
even to the royal dignity itself and to become the 
most prominent members of the Moslem aristocracy 
of Spain. - <. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 273 

From the beginning, the arbitrary measures of the 
Emir carried distress and anxiety into every town and 
hamlet of the country. His rapacity knew no bounds. 
Under pretext of a deficiency in the collection of 
tribute, the officials charged with that duty were 
imprisoned and put to the torture. In the infliction 
of punishment no distinction of religious belief was 
recognized; Moslem and Christian alike felt the 
heavy hand of the tyrant; and even the oldest and 
most renowned officers of the army, veterans who had 
served in Syria and Africa, the companions of Tarik 
and Musa, were not exempt from the exactions of 
his insatiable avarice. So intolerable did these oppres- 
sions become, that the cause of Islam was seriously 
endangered; proselytism ceased; no official, however 
high in rank, was secure in the possession of liberty, 
property, and life; and the unfortunate Jews and 
Christians were exposed to all the evils of the most 
cruel persecution. As the Emir of Africa evinced a 
remarkable apathy when the removal of Al-Horr was 
demanded by the outraged people of Spain, applica- 
tion was made to the Khalif Omar in person, who at 
once deposed the offensive governor, and appointed 
as his successor Al-Samh, the general commanding 
the army of the northern frontier. This appointment 
did credit to the discernment of the Khalif, for it 
proved eminently wise and judicious. The first 
efforts of Al-Samh were directed to the correction 
of irregularities in the administration of the revenue. 
Formerly the large cities, where was naturally col- 
lected the most of the wealth of the kingdom and 
hence the bulk of property liable to taxation, had been 
required to contribute only one-tenth of their income 
towards the expenses of government, while the vil- 
lages and the cultivated lands had been assessed at 
one-fifth. This inequality was due originally to a 
desire to favor the Jews, whose love of traffic had 

Vol. I. 18 

274 History of the 

induced them to establish themselves in the principal 
towns, offering, as the latter did, better facilities for 
the encouragement of commerce and the rapid accu- 
mulation of property. In addition to this much- 
needed reform, the able viceroy collected the bands 
of Moors and Berbers, whose nomadic habits and 
predatory instincts, inherited from a long line of 
ancestors, had resisted former attempts at coloniza- 
tion, settled them upon unoccupied lands, and, by 
every possible inducement, tried to impress upon the 
minds of these savage warriors the importance and 
the superior advantages of civilization. He caused a 
census to be taken of all the inhabitants of the Penin- 
sula, and with it sent to Damascus elaborate tables 
of statistics, in which were carefully described the 
various towns, the topography of the coast, the situa- 
tion of the harbors, the wealth of the country, the na- 
ture of its products, the volume of its commerce, and 
the extent of its mineral and agricultural resources. 
The restoration of the magnificent bridge of Cordova, 
constructed in the reign of Augustus, is of itself an 
enduring monument to his fame. But the energies 
of Al-Samh were not expended solely in the monoto- 
nous but beneficial avocations of peace. As the friend 
and associate of Tarik he had seen service on many 
a stoutly contested field, and now, when his dominions 
were tranquil and prosperous, he received, with the 
exultation of an ardent believer, the order of the 
Khali f to carry the Holy War beyond the Pyrenees. 

The province of Narbonnese Gaul, once a part of 
the Visigothic empire, and hitherto protected from 
the incursions of its dangerous neighbors by the lofty 
mountain rampart which formed its southern boun- 
dary, continued to cherish the traditions and to observe 
the customs of its ancient rulers. It embraced the 
greater portion of modern Languedoc, that smiling 
region which, watered by the Rhone, the Garonne, and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 275 

their numerous tributaries, had, through the fertility 
of its soil and the advantages of its semi-tropical 
climate, early attracted the attention of the adven- 
turous colonists of Greece and Italy. The high state 
of civilization to which this region attained, and its 
progress in the arts, are manifested by the architec- 
tural remains which still adorn its cities, remains 
which, in elegance of design and imposing magnifi- 
cence, are unequalled by even the far-famed ruins of 
the Eternal City. No structures in any country illus- 
trate so thoroughly the taste and genius of classic 
times as the arch of Orange, the Pont du Gard, the 
temples and the amphitheatre of Nimes, whose grace- 
ful proportions and wonderful state of preservation 
never fail to elicit the enthusiastic admiration of the 
traveller. The inhabitants also have retained, through 
the vicissitudes of centuries of warfare and foreign 
domination, the traits and features of their classic 
ancestry. In the vainglorious pride of the Provencal 
and his neighbor the Gascon are traceable the haughty 
demeanor of the Roman patrician; while the women 
of Aries, in their symmetry of form, their faultless 
profiles, and their statuesque grace, recall the beauties 
of the age of Pericles. 

This territory was known to the Goths by the name 
of Septimania, from the seven principal cities, Nar- 
bonne, Nimes, Agde, Lodeve, Maguelonne, Beziers, 
and Carcassonne, included within its borders, and was 
still governed by the maxims of the Gothic polity 
which formerly prevailed in the Peninsula. Although 
divided into a number of little principalities, whose 
chieftains promiscuously indulged their propensities 
to rapine without fear of the intervention of any 
superior power, it had for years preserved the ap- 
pearance of a disunited but independent state. In 
the North, the anarchy accompanying the bloody 
struggles of the princes of the Merovingian dynasty, 

276 History of the 

which preceded the foundation of the empire of 
Pepin and Charlemagne, removed, for the time, all 
danger of encroachment from that quarter. But the 
Gothic nobles, since the battle of the Guadalete, had 
cast glances of anxiety and dismay upon the distant 
summits of the Pyrenees. Innumerable refugees 
from Spain had sought safety among their Gallic 
kinsmen, and the tales which they related of the 
excesses of the invaders lost nothing in their recital 
by these terror-stricken fugitives. Too feeble of 
themselves to entertain hopes of successful resist- 
ance, the Goths suspended for a time their hereditary 
quarrels, and, to avoid the impending ruin, acknowl- 
edged the sovereignty of Eudes, the powerful Duke 
of Aquitaine. 

Al-Samh, having completed his preparations, 
emerged from the mountain passes at the head 
of a formidable army. After a siege of a month, 
Narbonne, the capital of Septimania, surrendered to 
the Moslems, who obtained from the churches and 
convents an immense booty, most of which had been 
deposited by fugitive Spanish prelates in those sanc- 
tuaries as places of inviolable security. Almost with- 
out a blow, the fortresses* of Beziers, Maguelonne, and 
Carcassonne accepted the liberal conditions of Mo- 
hammedan vassalage. The flying squadrons of Arab 
cavalry now spread ruin and alarm over the beautiful 
valley of the Garonne. So attractive was the country 
and so lax the discipline, that it was with some diffi- 
culty the Emir succeeded in collecting the scattering 
detachments of his army, which had wandered far 
in search of plunder; and, resuming his march, he 
at length invested the important city of Toulouse, the 
capital of Aquitaine. The siege was pushed with 
vigor, and the inhabitants, reduced to extremity, were 
already meditating a surrender, when the Duke ap- 
proached Math a force greatly superior to that of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 277 

Moslems. The latter, disheartened at the sight of 
such an overwhelming multitude, were disposed to 
retreat, when the Emir, actuated by a spirit worthy 
of the ancient heroes of Islam, roused their flagging 
courage by an eloquent harangue, in which he artfully 
suggested both the prizes of victory and the promises 
of the Faith. As the two hosts ranged themselves 
in martial array, the priests distributed among the 
Franks small pieces of sponge which had received 
the blessing of the Pope; amulets more serviceable, 
it appeared, than the thickest armor, for we are 
assured by the veracious chroniclers of the age that 
not a Christian soldier who carried one of these valu- 
able relics lost his life in the battle. The contest was 
long and obstinate ; the Moslems performed prodigies 
of valor ; but they had lost the religious fervor which 
had so often rendered their arms invincible; and 
anxiety for the safety of their spoils had greater 
influence upon them than the security of their con- 
quest or the propagation of their religion. The issue 
long remained doubtful; but the Emir having ex- 
posed himself too rashly fell pierced by a lance; and 
his army, completely routed, retired from the field 
with the loss of two-thirds of its number. Abd-al- 
Rahman-al-Ghaf eki, an officer of high rank and dis- 
tinguished reputation, was invested with the tempo- 
rary command by his associates, and conducted the 
shattered remnant of the Moslems to Narbonne. In- 
tent on plundering the treasures of the enemy's camp, 
which contained the bulk of the portable wealth of 
Septimania, the Franks could not be induced to reap 
the full advantages of victory. The retreat was con- 
ducted with consummate skill, for the peasantry, 
aroused by the news of the disaster, swarmed in vast 
numbers around the retreating Moslems, who were 
often compelled to cut their way through the dense 
and ever increasing masses, which immediately closed 
in and harassed their rear. 

278 History of the ' 

This was the first serious reverse which had befallen 
the hitherto invincible arms of Islam. The tide had 
begun to turn, and the implacable enmity cultivated 
for centuries between the two contending nations of 
Arabia which neither the precepts of a congenial 
form of faith, nor military fame, nor uninterrupted 
conquest, nor the possession of fabulous wealth, nor 
the enjoyment of the fairest portions of the globe 
could eradicate was now to exhibit to the world the 
splendid weakness of the Successors of Mohammed. 
A glance at the origin and progress of this barbarian 
feud, which survived the impetuous ardor of prose- 
lytism, and had nourished for ages its hereditary vin- 
dictiveness, and, arising in distant Asia, was destined 
to be revived with undiminished violence upon the 
plains of Aragon and Andalusia, is essential to a 
proper understanding of the causes to which are to 
be attributed the downfall of the Moslem Empire of 
the West. 

As already mentioned, irreconcilable hostility had 
existed from time immemorial between the inhabi- 
tants of Northern and Southern Arabia. Due to a 
difference of origin, and probably based upon inva- 
sion and conquest in a prehistoric age, this race- 
prejudice had been aggravated by a feeling of 
mutual hatred and contempt, derived from the dif- 
ferent avocations of the people of Yemen and those 
of the Hedjaz, the peaceful merchants and the law- 
less rovers of the Desert. The Maadites, to whom 
the Meccans belonged, were shepherds and brigands. 
They prided themselves upon being the aristocracy 
of Arabia; and the thrifty and industrious dwellers 
of the South, the Kahtanites, who saw nothing de- 
grading in the tillage of their fields, in the care of 
their valuable date plantations, and in the profits of 
commerce, could, in the consciousness of superior 
wealth and culture, readily endure the scorn of their 

Moorish Empire in Europe 279 

neighbors, whose gains were obtained by overreach- 
ing their guests, by extortions from pilgrims to the 
Kaaba, and by sharing in the plunder of caravans. 
The Medinese, whose origin was partly Jewish, whose 
pursuits were sedentary, and whose affiliations con- 
nected them with the trading communities of Yemen, 
were classed with the Kahtanites by the children of 
Maad. From this mutual antagonism the religion 
of Mohammed received its greatest impulse and the 
power which enabled it to overturn all its adversaries ; 
and from it, also, are to be traced the misfortunes 
which befell the empire of Islam even before it was 
firmly established; which made every country and 
province in its wide dominions the scene of civil strife 
and bloodshed; which profaned with insult and vio- 
lence the shrines of the most holy temples; which 
annihilated whole dynasties by the hand of the assas- 
sin; and which, far more potent than the iron hand 
of Charles Martel and the valor of the Franks, lost 
by a single stroke the sceptre of Europe. Hence 
arose the disputes which terminated in the murder of 
Othman and its terrible retribution, the sack of the 
Holy Cities; the intrigues and controversies which 
resulted from the election of Ali; the death of 
Hosein; the insurrections of the fanatical reformers 
of Persia; the proscription of the Ommeyades; the 
perpetual disorders which distracted the Emirate of 
Africa. In Spain also, whither had resorted so many 
of the fugitives of Medina and their Syrian con- 
querors, the smouldering embers of national preju- 
dice and religious discord were rekindled. The most 
sacred ties of nationality, of religion, or of kindred 
were powerless to counteract this deep-rooted antip- 
athy, which seems inherent in the two divisions of the 
Arab race. The most noble incentives to patriotism, 
the pride of victory, the alluring prospects of com- 
mercial greatness, of literary distinction, of boundless 

280 History of the 

dominion, were ignored in the hope of humiliating a 
rival faction and of gratifying a ruthless spirit of 
revenge. At different times such is the strange in- 
consistency of human nature the Maadites became 
voluntary dependents of the kings of Yemen and 
Hira. In an age of remote antiquity, the Himyarite 
dialect spoken in the South had been supplanted by 
the more polished idiom of the Hedjaz. 

The intensity and duration of the hatred existing 
between Maadite and Yemenite are inconceivable by 
the mind of one of Caucasian blood, and are without 
precedent, even in the East. It affected the policy 
of nations; it determined the fate of empires; it 
menaced the stability of long-established articles of 
faith; it invaded the family, corrupting the instincts 
of filial reverence, and betraying the sacred confi- 
dences of domestic life. Upon pretexts so frivolous 
as hardly to justify a quarrel between individuals, 
nations were plunged into all the calamities of civil 
war. A difference affecting the construction of a 
point of religious discipline was sufficient to assemble 
a horde of fanatics, and devote whole provinces to 
devastation and massacre. A petty act of trespass 
the detaching of a vine-leaf, the theft of a melon 
provoked the most cruel retaliation upon the com- 
munity to which the culprit belonged. The Maadite, 
inheriting the haughty spirit of the Bedouin ma- 
rauder, 'despised his ancestors if there was in their 
veins a single drop of the blood of Kahtan; and, on 
the other hand, under corresponding conditions of 
relationship, the Yemenite refused to pray even for 
his mother if she was allied to the Maadites, whom 
he stigmatized as a race of barbarians and slaves. 
And yet these were divisions of the same people ; with 
similar tastes and manners; identical in dress and 
personal aspect; speaking the same tongue; wor- 
shipping at the same altars; fighting under the same 

Moorish Empire in Europe 281 

banners; frequently united by intermarriage; actu- 
ated by the same ambitions; zealous for the attain- 
ment of the same ends. The investigation of this 
anomaly, an ethnical peculiarity so remarkable in its 
tenacity of prejudice, and which, enduring for more 
than twenty-five hundred years, the most powerful 
motives and aspirations of the mind have failed to 
abrogate, presents one of the most interesting prob- 
lems in the history of humanity. 

In the train of Musa had followed hundreds of 
the former inhabitants of Medina, who carried with 
them bitter memories of ruined homes and slaugh- 
tered kinsmen. The impression made by these enthu- 
siastic devotees defenders of the sepulchre of the 
Prophet, and eloquent with the traditions of the Holy 
City upon the savage tribes of Africa was far more 
deep and permanent than that of the homilies of Musa 
delivered under the shadow of the scimetar. Their 
bearing was more affable, their treatment of the con- 
quered more lenient, their popularity far more de- 
cided, than that of the haughty descendants of the 
Koreish. With the memory of inexpiable wrong was 
cherished an implacable spirit of vengeance. The 
name of Syrian, associated with infidelity, sacrilege, 
lust, and massacre, was odious to the pious believer of 
the Hedjaz. His soul revolted at the tales of ungodly 
revels which disgraced the polished and voluptuous 
court of Damascus. The riotous banquets, the lascivi- 
ous dances, the silken vestments, the midnight orgies, 
and above all the blasphemous jests of satirical poets, 
struck with horror the abstemious and scrupulous pre- 
cisians of Medina and Aden. The Ommeyade noble 
was looked upon by them as worse than an apostate; 
a being whose status was inferior to that of either 
Pagan, Jew, or Christian. The feelings of the de- 
scendants of the proud aristocracy of Mecca towards 
their adversaries were scarcely less bitter. They re- 

282 History or the 

membered with contempt the obscure origin and 
plebeian avocations of the first adherents of the 
Prophet. Their minds were inflamed with rage 
when they recalled the murder of the inoffensive 
Othman, whose blood-stained garments, mute but 
potent witnesses of his sufferings, had hung for 
many months in the Great Mosque of Damascus. 
With indignation was repeated the story of the 
cowardly attempt against the life of Muavia, and of 
the poisoned thrust which brought him to an un- 
timely end. With but few exceptions, the Emirs of 
Spain were stanch adherents of the line of the Om- 
meyades, and never failed to discriminate against the 
obnoxious Medinese and their posterity. The latter 
retaliated by secret treachery ; by open rebellion ; by 
defeating vast schemes of policy before they were ma- 
tured; by encouraging the dangerous encroachments 
of the Asturian mountaineers. This sectional strife 
early disclosed itself in the face of the enemy by 
fomenting the quarrel between Tarik and Musa. It 
thwarted the plans of the great Arab general, whose 
enterprising genius and towering ambition aimed at 
the subjugation and conversion of Europe. It armed 
the hands which struck down in the sanctuary the wise 
and capable Abd-al-Aziz. It retarded the progress 
of Abd-al-Rahman, filled his camp with brawls 
and confusion, increased the insubordination of his 
troops, and gave time for the recall of the bar- 
barian hosts of Charles Martel from the confines of 
Gaul and Germany. In the Arabian population the 
Yemenite faction largely preponderated, especially 
in Eastern and Western Spain, which were almost 
exclusively settled by its adherents. In consequence 
of their numerical superiority and political impor- 
tance, they claimed, certainly with some appearance 
of justice, the right to be governed by an emir whose 
views and sympathies were in accordance with their 

Mookish Empire in Europe 283 

own. The court of Damascus, thoroughly cognizant 
of the uncertain hold it maintained upon a distant 
and wealthy province, inhabited by a turbulent rabble 
whose animosity towards the family of the Omme- 
yades was thinly disguised by lukewarm professions 
of loyalty and occasional remittances of tribute, had 
the sagacity to humor its prejudices, and to appoint 
to the Spanish Emirate governors of the dominant 
party. In the course of forty years, but three of the 
rulers of Spain out of twenty traced their origin to 
the detested posterity of Maad. This politic course 
preserved in its allegiance the wealthy provinces of 
the Peninsula, until the influence of the Yemenites 
and the Berbers was hopelessly weakened by the civil 
wars preceding the foundation of the Western Khal- 
ifate. The effects of the latter, by the serious dis- 
turbances they promoted and the consequent injury 
inflicted upon the integrity of the Mohammedan em- 
pire, had awakened the hopes and revived the faltering 
courage of the terrified nations of Christendom. 

There is perhaps no recorded instance of a feud so 
obscure in its origin, so anomalous in its conditions, 
so momentous in its consequences, as this rancorous 
antagonism of the two divisions of the Arabian 
people. It illustrates more clearly than an entire 
commentary could do, the inflexibility of purpose, 
a trait conspicuous in the Bedouin, which could 
sacrifice all the advantages and pleasures of life, 
all the hopes of eternity, to the destruction of an 
hereditary foe. For centuries, in an isolated and arid 
country of Asia, certain hordes of barbarians, igno- 
rant of the arts, careless of luxury, proud, intrepid, 
and independent, had pursued each other with un- 
relenting hostility. With the advent of a Prophet 
bringing a new revelation, the most potent influences 
which can affect humanity are brought to bear upon 
the nation. A whole people emigrates; is in time 

284 History of the 

united with many conquered races; appreciates and 
accepts the pricless benefits of civilization; becomes 
pre-eminent in science, in letters, in all the arts of 
war and government, in all the happy and beneficent 
pursuits of peace. But amidst this prosperity and 
grandeur the hereditary feuds of the Desert re- 
mained unreconciled. Neither the denunciations of 
the Koran nor the fear of future punishment were 
able to more than temporarily arrest this fatal en- 
mity. Islam was in a few generations filled with 
dangerous schismatics, whose tribal prejudice was, 
more than devotion to any dogma, the secret of their 
menacing attitude towards the khalif ate. The mock- 
ery and sacrilege of the princes of Damascus, scions 
of the ancient persecutors of Mohammed, were 
caused by equally base, selfish, and unpatriotic mo- 
tives. And the people of Medina, without whose 
timely aid induced, it is not to be forgotten, by 
this perpetual feud between Kahtanite and Maadite 
Islam could never have survived, were doomed 
henceforth to a career of uninterrupted misfortune. 
Their city, which had sheltered the Prophet in his 
adversity, and had received his blessing, was sacked 
and laid waste; and in the sacred mosque which 
covered his remains were stabled the horses of the 
Syrian cavalry. The unhappy exiles, pursued in 
every land by the impositions and cruelty of the 
tyrants of Syria, were, despite their frequent efforts 
to throw off the yoke, finally cowed into submission. 
In the long series of rulers, from Sad-Ibn-Obada, 
surnamed The Perfect, the champion of Medina, 
whose election as the first of the Khalifs the over- 
bearing insolence of the Koreish was scarcely able to 
prevent, to the effeminate Boabdil, his lineal descend- 
ant, the conduct of the Defenders of the Prophet 
is marked by errors of judgment, by want of tact, 
by defiance of law, and by ill-timed enterprises pro- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 285 

lific of disaster. No city, however, has placed a 
deeper impress upon the history of nations and the 
cause of civilization, since the immortal age of Athens, 
than Medina. Its influence, although often of a nega- 
tive character, while it was the support of Islam in 
its period of weakness, was a serious impediment in 
its day of power. The benefits it conferred upon a 
handful of struggling proselytes were more than 
counterbalanced by the discord it promoted in the 
camps and councils of Irac, Syria, Africa, and Spain. 
The census taken by Al-Samh had disclosed the vast 
preponderance of Christians who still adhered to their 
ancient faith, and the fears of the Khalif Yezid were 
aroused by the presence of so many hostile sectaries 
in the heart of his empire. To obviate this evil, and 
to assure the future permanence of Moslem supre- 
macy, he devised a scheme which indicates a degree 
of worldly wisdom and political acuteness rare in the 
councils of that age. He proposed that the Christian 
population of Spain and Septimania be deported and 
settled in the provinces of Africa and Syria, and the 
territory thus vacated be colonized with faithful Mus- 
sulmans. Thus Spain would have become thoroughly 
Mohammedan, and the establishment of armed garri- 
sons in Gaul would have been supplemented by the aid 
of a brave and active peasantry, affording an invalu- 
able initial point for the extension of the Moslem 
arms in the north and east of Europe. But this was 
by no means the greatest advantage of this bold and 
original stroke of statesmanship. The penetrating 
eye of Yezid had already discerned the dangerous 
character of the mountaineers of the Asturias, who 
had preserved the traditions and inherited the valor 
of the founders of the Gothic monarchy. The re- 
moval of this threatening element was equivalent to 
its extirpation, and would probably have preserved 
for an indefinite period the Moslem empire of Spain 

286 History of the 

in its original integrity. The province of Septimania, 
supported by the powerful armies of a united and 
homogeneous nation, could then have defied the desul- 
tory assaults of the Franks. The exiles, scattered in 
distant lands, must by force, or through inducements 
of material advantage, have gradually become amal- 
gamated with their masters ; their children would have 
professed the prevailing faith; and the progenitors 
of that dynasty whose policy controlled the destinies 
of Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth cen- 
turies would have disappeared from the knowledge 
of man. The severity of this project, dictated partly 
by religious zeal, but principally by political acumen, 
would have been excessive, yet its beneficial effects 
upon the fortunes of Islam must have been incalcu- 
lable. But the mind of Al-Samh, incapable of appre- 
ciating the paramount importance of the enterprise, 
despising the Goths of the sierras as savages, and, 
like the majority of his countrymen, underestimating 
their resolution and capacity for warfare, induced 
him to discourage the plan of the Khalif, by repre- 
senting that it was unnecessary, on account of the 
daily increasing numbers of converts to the doctrines 
of the Koran. The successful inauguration of a simi- 
lar policy by Cromwell in Ireland nine hundred years 
afterwards, whose completion, fortunately for the 
rebellious natives, was defeated by his death, demon- 
strates the extraordinary sagacity of the sovereign of 
Damascus in devising a measure of statecraft whose 
execution portended such important consequences to 
modern society, and which has, for the most part, 
escaped the notice of the historians of the Moorish 
empire. Before departing upon his unfortunate 
expedition, Al-Samh had left Anbasah-Ibn-Sohim, 
one of his most trusty lieutenants, in charge of the 
affairs of the Peninsula. The latter, learning of the 
rout of Toulouse, without delay sent a large body of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 287 

troops to the North to cover the retreat of the de- 
feated army; a precaution rendered unnecessary by 
the generalship of Abd-al-Rahman, who was now 
recognized as emir, the choice of his comrades being 
soon afterwards confirmed by the Viceroy of Africa. 
The Christians of Gothic Gaul and the Asturias, 
greatly elated by the disaster which had befallen 
their enemies, soon manifested greater hostility than 
ever, and it required all the firmness and prudence of 
Abd-al-Rahman to restrain them. The insurrection 
which began to threaten the power of the Moslems 
in the trans-Pyrenean province was, however, crushed 
before it became formidable; the mountaineers were 
driven back into their strongholds; the suspended 
tribute was collected, and an increased contribution 
was levied upon such communities as had distin- 
guished themselves by an obstinate resistance. 

Although the idol of his soldiers, Abd-al-Rahman 
was not a favorite with the great officials of the 
government. They admired his prowess, and were 
not disposed to depreciate his talents, but they hated 
him on account of his popularity, for which he was 
mainly indebted to his lavish donations to the troops. 
It was his custom, as soon as the royal fifth had been 
set apart, to abandon the remainder of the spoil to 
the army, a course so unusual as to provoke the 
remonstrances of his friends, while it elicited the 
applause and secured the undying attachment of the 
soldiery. Application was made by the malcontents 
to the Vicerov of Africa, Baschar-Ibn-Hantala, for 
the removal of Abd-al-Rahman, under the pretext 
that the Moslem cause was becoming endangered 
through the prevalence of luxury introduced by his 
unprecedented munificence. The charges were 
pressed with such vigor that they prevailed, and 
Anbasah-Ibn-Sohim was raised to the emirate. 
Abd-al-Rahman such was the confidence of his 

288 History of the 

opponents in his integrity and patriotism was 
reinstated in the government of Eastern Spain, 
which he had held previous to the battle of Tou- 
louse. With the submission and piety of a faithful 
Moslem, he congratulated his successor, swore fealty 
to him, and retired without a murmur to reassume 
a subordinate position in a kingdom which he had 
ruled with absolute power. Anbasah soon displayed 
by active and salutary measures his fitness for his 
high office. The administration had become to some 
extent demoralized by the easy temper and prodigal 
liberality of Abd-al-Rahman, and Anbasah's first care 
was to remodel the fiscal department and adopt a new 
and more exact apportionment of taxation. Care- 
fully avoiding any appearance of injustice to the 
tributary Christians, he divided among the immi- 
grants who now, in larger numbers than ever before, 
poured into Spain from Africa and the East the 
lands which were unoccupied, and had hitherto served 
as pastures to the nomadic Berbers, whose traditions 
and habits discouraged the selection of any permanent 
habitation. While inflexibly just to the loyal and 
obedient, Anbasah punished all attempts at insur- 
rection with a rigor akin to ferocity. Some districts 
in the province of Tarragona having revolted on ac- 
count of real or fancied grievances, the Emir razed 
their fortifications, crucified the leaders, and imposed 
upon the inhabitants a double tax, both as a punish- 
ment and a warning. In order to keep alive the 
respect for the Moslem name, he sent frequent expe- 
ditions into Gaul, whose operations, conducted upon 
a limited scale, were mainly confined to the destruc- 
tion of property and the seizure of captives. 

The Jewish population of the Peninsula, relieved 
from the vexatious laws of the Goths and greatly 
increased in wealth and numbers by foreign acces- 
sions, had already risen to exalted rank in the social 

Moorish Empire in Europe 289 

and political scale under the favorable auspices of 
Mohammedan rule. It enjoyed the highest consid- 
eration with the Arabs, whose success had been so 
largely due to its friendly co-operation. This com- 
munity, endowed with the hereditary thrift of the 
race, rich beyond all former experience, still ardently 
devoted to a religion endeared by centuries of perse- 
cution, and by the deeply grounded hope of future 
spiritual and temporal sovereignty, was now startled 
by the report that the Messiah, whose advent they had 
so long and so patiently awaited, had appeared in the 
East. The highly imaginative temperament of the 
Oriental, and the phenomenal success of the founders 
of religious systems in that quarter of the world, 
had been productive of the rise of many designing 
fanatics, all claiming the gifts of prophecy and 
miracle, and all secure of a numerous following 
in an age fertile in impostors. In this instance, the 
Hebrew prophet, whose name was Zonaria, had estab- 
lished his abode in Syria; and thither in multitudes 
the Spanish Jews, abandoning their homes and carry- 
ing only their valuables, journeyed, without question- 
ing the genuineness of their information or reflect- 
ing upon the results of their blind credulity. No 
sooner were the pilgrims across the strait, than the 
crafty Emir, declaring their estates forfeited by aban- 
donment, confiscated the latter, which included some 
of the finest mansions and most productive lands in 
the Peninsula. This fanatical contagion extended 
even into Gaul, and the Jewish colonists of that region 
hastened to join their Spanish brethren in their pil- 
grimage of folly, only to realize, when too late, that 
they had lost their worldly possessions without the 
compensating advantage of a celestial inheritance. 

Having regulated the civil affairs of his govern- 
ment to his satisfaction, the eyes of Anbasah now 
turned towards the North, where lay the tempting 

Vol. I. 19 

290 History of the 

prize of France, coveted by every emir since the time 
of Musa. The prestige of the Arabs had been ma- 
terially impaired by the serious reverse they had sus- 
tained before Toulouse. The first encounter with the 
fiery warriors of the South whom fear had pictured as 
incarnate demons, and whose prowess was said to be 
invincible, had divested the foes of Christianity of 
many of the terrors which exaggerated rumor had im- 
parted to them. Of the numerous fortified places in 
Septimania which had once seemed to be pledges of a 
permanent Mohammedan settlement, the city of Nar- 
bonne alone remained. Its massive walls had easily 
resisted the ill-directed efforts of a barbarian enemy, 
unprovided with military engines, and unaccustomed 
to the protracted and monotonous service implied by 
a siege, while its vicinity to the sea rendered a reduc- 
tion by blockade impracticable. Thus, protected by 
the natural advantages of its location and by the 
courage of its garrison, Narbonne presented the 
anomaly of an isolated stronghold in the midst of 
the enemy's country. Traversing the mountainous 
passes without difficulty the Emir took Carcassonne, 
a city which had hitherto enjoyed immunity from 
capture; and by this bold stroke so intimidated the 
inhabitants, that the whole of Septimania at once, 
and without further resistance, returned to its allegi- 
ance to the Khalif . No retribution was exacted for 
past disloyalty, as Anbasah was too politic not to 
appreciate the value of clemency in a province held 
by such a precarious tenure; the people were left as 
before to the untrammelled exercise of their worship ; 
but the unpaid tribute was rigorously collected, and 
a large number of hostages, chosen from the noblest 
families of the Goths, were sent to Spain. 

The Moslem army, proceeding along the coast as 
far as the Rhone, turned towards the interior, and 
ascended the valley of the river, ravaging its settle- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 291 

merits with fire and sword. Advancing to Lyons, it 
took that city, and thence directing its course into 
Burgundy, it stormed and pillaged the town of Au- 
tun. Hitherto the invaders had encountered no or- 
ganized opposition, but a hastily collected militia now 
began to harass their march, encumbered as they were 
with a prodigious booty; and, in a skirmish in which 
the peasantry displayed an unusual amount of daring, 
Anbasah, having rashly exposed himself, was mor- 
tally wounded. The dying Emir bequeathed his 
authority to Odrah-Ibn-Abdallah, an appointment 
distasteful to the members of the Divan; and, in 
accordance with their demands, the Viceroy of Africa 
designated Yahya-Ibn-Salmah as the successor of 
Anbasah. The austere and inflexible spirit of this 
commander, his keen sense of justice, and his deter- 
mination to enforce the strictest discipline among the 
soldiery, made him everywhere unpopular. The pli- 
ant Viceroy of Africa was once more appealed to, and 
such was his subserviency to the clamors of the dis- 
contented chieftains that not only was Yahya-Ibn- 
Salmah removed, but within a few months his two 
successors, Othman-Ibn-Abu-Nesa and Hodheyfa- 
Ibn-al-Ahwass, were appointed and deposed. Finally 
the Khalif himself sent to Al-Haytham-Ibn-Obeyd 
the royal commission as his representative. This offi- 
cial was a Syrian by birth, and inherited all the bitter 
prejudices of his faction which had been fostered by 
the pride and insolence of the triumphant Omme- 
yades. Merciless by nature, fierce and rapacious, 
Al-Haytham spared neither Moslem nor Christian. 
Especially was his animosity directed towards the 
descendants of the Companions of Mohammed, and 
their proselytes and adherents, the Berbers. The 
complaints now lodged with the Viceroy of Africa 
were unheeded, as the offensive governor had received 
his appointment directly from the hands of the Com- 

292 History of the 

mander of the Faithful. In their extremity, the 
victims of Al-Haytham preferred charges before the 
Divan of Damascus; and the Khalif Hischem, con- 
vinced that the Emir was exceeding his authority, 
appointed one of the most distinguished personages 
of his court, Mohammed-Ibn-Abdallah, as special 
envoy to investigate the administration of Al-Hay- 
tham, and to depose and punish him if, in his 
judgment, the well-being of Islam and the interests 
of good government demanded it. Arriving incognito 
at Cordova, the plenipotentiary of the Khalif, without 
difficulty or delay, obtained the necessary evidence of 
the guilt of the unworthy official. Then, exhibiting 
his commission, he publicly stripped the latter of the 
insignia of his rank, and, having shaved his head, had 
him paraded through the city upon an ass, amidst the 
jeers and insults of the people he had robbed and 
persecuted. All his property was confiscated, and 
Mohammed made amends as far as possible by be- 
stowing upon the surviving victims of the disgraced 
Emir the immense treasures he had amassed during 
a reign of indiscriminate extortion. Then placing 
Al-Haytham in irons he sent him under guard to 
Africa. Two months sufficed to redress the grievances 
which had threatened a revolution to recompense the 
plundered, to liberate the imprisoned, to console the 
tortured, to expel from their places the cruel subordi- 
nates of the oppressor; and, having elicited the ap- 
probation and received the blessings of all classes, 
including the hereditary enemies of his tribe, Moham- 
med departed for Syria, after conferring the viceregal 
authority upon the renowned captain Abd-al-Rahman, 
who thus a second time ascended the throne of the 
Emirate of the West. 

Of noble birth and distinguished reputation, Abd- 
al-Rahman united to the eminent qualities of a suc- 
cessful ruler and general all the insufferable arro- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 293 

gance of the Arab race. Connected by ties of the 
closest friendship with one of the sons of the Khali f , 
Omar-al-Khattah, he had received from him many 
particulars regarding the life and habits of Mo- 
hammed, and this intimacy contributed to increase 
the feeling of superiority, not unmingled with con- 
tempt, with which he regarded the horde of barbarian 
proselytes attracted to his banner rather by thirst for 
plunder than from religious zeal. His generosity en- 
deared him to the soldiery, but his inflexible sense of 
right alienated the powerful officials of the Divan 
enriched by years of unmolested peculation. The 
knowledge of his Syrian origin, constantly evinced 
by a marked partiality for his countrymen, at once 
aroused the secret hostility of the crowd of turbulent 
adventurers who, collected from every district of 
Africa and Asia, composed his subjects, and who, 
destitute of loyalty, religion, principle, or gratitude, 
regarded an Arab as their natural enemy, an hetero- 
geneous assemblage wherein the Berber element, 
dominated by the rankling prejudices of the Yemen- 
ites, their spiritual guides, greatly preponderated. 

Visiting, in turn, the different provinces subject to 
his rule, Abd-al-Rahman confirmed the good disposi- 
tions of his predecessor, the plenipotentiary Moham- 
med-Ibn-Abdallah, and corrected such abuses as had 
escaped the attention of the latter. In some instances, 
the injustice of the walis had wantonly deprived the 
Christians of their houses of worship, in defiance of 
the agreement permitting them to celebrate their rites 
without molestation ; in others, their rapacity had con- 
nived at the erection of new churches, prohibited by 
the provisions of former treaties, and in absolute con- 
travention of Mohammedan law. This evil of late 
years had become so general that scarcely a com- 
munity in the Peninsula was exempt from it. 
Through the care and firmness of the Emir the 

294 History of the 

confiscated churches were restored to their congre- 
gations; the new edifices were razed to the ground; 
the bribes which had purchased the indulgence of the 
walis were surrendered to the public treasury ; and the 
corrupt officials paid the penalty of their malfeasance 
with scourging and imprisonment. 

His reforms completed, and secure in the apparent 
submission and attachment of his subjects, Abd-al- 
Rahman now turned his attention to the prosecution 
of a design which, in spite of fearful reverses in the 
past and of unknown dangers impending in the fu- 
ture, had long been the cherished object of his ambi- 
tion the conquest of France. As the representative 
of the Khalif, and consequently vested with both 
spiritual and temporal power, he had caused to be 
proclaimed from the pulpit of every mosque visited 
by him in his progress, the obligation of all faithful 
Moslems to avenge the deaths of the martyrs fallen 
in former invasions, and to add to the empire of Islam 
the rich and productive territory of Europe. 

Fully aware of the vast difficulties which would 
necessarily attend such an undertaking, and enlight- 
ened by his former experience, Abd-al-Rahman re- 
solved to provide, as far as possible, against any con- 
tingency that might arise from too hasty preparation, 
or an inferiority in numbers, sent messengers to 
almost every country acknowledging the authority of 
the Khalif, to proclaim the D jihad, or Holy War, and 
to solicit the pecuniary aid of all devout and liberal 
believers. The call was promptly answered. The 
riches of the East and West poured in a constant 
stream into the treasury of Cordova. Wealthy mer- 
chants sent their gold; female devotees their jewels; 
even the beggar was anxious to contribute his pittance 
for the advancement of the Faith and the confusion 
of the infidel. From neighboring lands, and from the 
remotest confines of the Mohammedan world alike. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 295 

from Syria, Egypt, Arabia, Palestine, Al-Maghreb, 
and Persia, military adventurers, soldiers of fortune, 
desperate fanatics, half -naked savages from Mauri- 
tania, the proud and ferocious tribesmen of the Desert, 
astonished the inhabitants of the cities of Andalusia 
with their multitudes, their tumultuous and unintel- 
ligible cries, and their fierce enthusiasm. The entire 
force of the Hispano-Arab army, disciplined by many 
a scene of foreign and internecine conflict, was mar- 
shalled for the coming crusade, which, unlike those 
expeditions which had preceded it, aimed not merely 
at the spoliation of cities and the enslavement of their 
inhabitants, but at the permanent occupation and 
settlement of the country from the Pyrenees to the 
frontier of Germany, from the Rhastian Alps to the 

The several walis had been ordered to assemble with 
their forces at a designated rendezvous on the north- 
ern border of the Peninsula. This district, which 
included the mountain passes and the fortresses 
defending them, was then under the command of 
Othman-Ibn-Abu-Nesa, a native of Africa, who 
had, for a few months, enjoyed and abused the 
power of the emirate, and whom the generous 
policy of Abd-al-Rahman had retained in this im- 
portant post, bestowed upon the African chieftain 
after his deposition. A man of violent passions 
and without principle, Othman was, however, not 
deficient in those talents which confer distinction 
upon soldiers of fortune. Of obscure birth and 
low associations, he had, by sheer force of character 
and daring, won the confidence of the Viceroy of 
Africa, who had conferred upon him the government 
of Spain; a position from which he was barred by 
the unwritten law of the Conquest, which discouraged 
the aspirations of individuals of his nationality. 
Deeply chagrined that he had not been reinstated in 

296 History of the 

the office whose delights he had scarcely tasted, and 
devoured by envy, whose bitterness was increased by 
the antipathies of a party of which he was the acknowl- 
edged head, Othman determined to revenge his 
fancied wrongs, and to secure for himself the advan- 
tages of independent sovereignty. His influence 
extended even to the Ebro, to the north and east of 
which stream the Berbers, who were devoted to him, 
had established themselves in great numbers. At that 
time the condition of the redoubtable Eudes, Duke 
of Aquitaine, had become desperate. He had long 
waged a doubtful war with the Franks, whose supe- 
rior strength rendered his ultimate subjection certain. 
Upon the south, he was menaced by the encroachments 
of the marauding Arabs, whose expeditions kept his 
dominions in perpetual turmoil. Thus placed be- 
tween two fires, he readily hearkened to the overtures 
of Othman, who proposed an alliance to be cemented 
by the marriage of the wali with the daughter of the 
Gothic noble. A treaty was made and ratified; the 
damsel who was not compelled to renounce her faith 
was delivered to her father's new ally; and the 
latter returned to his government, resolving to baffle 
by diplomacy the design of his master, and, if that 
were found impossible, confident that the strength of 
his mountain defences was sufficient to defy all the 
power of the emirate. To the orders of Abd-al-Rah- 
man to attend him with his troops he returned evasive 
replies, pleading the engagement he had entered into, 
and his obligation to observe it. His repeated com- 
mands being ignored, and the patience of the army 
to advance growing uncontrollable, Abd-al-Rahman 
secretly despatched a squadron of light horsemen, 
under Gedhi-Ibn-Zeyan, a Syrian officer, with direc- 
tions to bring in the refractory wali dead or alive. 
Pressing forward with the utmost diligence, the 
troopers came suddenly upon Othman, at Castrum 

Moorish Empire in Europe 297 

Livia*, before he was even aware of the intentions 
of the Emir. He had barely time to take refuge 
with a few attendants and his bride in the neighbor- 
ing mountains, before his enemies entered the town 
and, without halting, spurred on through the rugged 
defiles in hot pursuit. Overtaken near a brook where 
the party had stopped from fatigue, the rebel escort 
was killed or put to flight; the Gothic princess was 
taken; and Othman paid the forfeit of his treason 
with his life. The enterprising Gedhi cast at the feet 
of Abd-al-Rahman the head of the traitor as the proof 
of his success ; and the captive, whose wondrous beauty 
charmed the eyes of all who saw her, was sent to grace 
the royal harem at Damascus. 

And now, the gateways of the Pyrenees being open, 
the mighty host of Moslems poured through, like an 
inundation, upon the sunny fields of France. No re- 
liable basis is available by which we can even approach 
to an accurate estimate of its numbers. Considering 
the publicity given to the crusade, the different sources 
whence the foreign recruits were drawn, the regular 
army of the Emir, and the bodies of cavalry furnished 
by the Viceroys of Africa and Egypt, it would seem 
that the invading army must have amounted to at least 
a hundred thousand men. Assembled without order, 
and wholly intolerant of discipline, the mutual jeal- 
ousy and haughty independence of its unruly elements 
greatly impaired its efficiency. The members of each 
tribe mustered around their chieftain, who enjoyed 
but a precarious authority; while the obedience which 
all professed to the representative of the majesty of 
the Khalif was observed only so long as his commands 
did not clash with their wishes or run counter to the 
indulgence of their passions and inherited prejudices. 

Meanwhile, the rumor of the approaching peril, 
exaggerated by distance, had spread consternation 
through every Christian community. It recalled the 

298 History of the 

disastrous times of barbarian conquest, when the 
ferocious hordes of Goths and Huns swept with ruin 
and death the fairest provinces of the Roman Empire. 
Throughout the Orient, in the lands which acknowl- 
edged the supremacy of the Successor of Mohammed, 
the pious Moslem awaited, with confidence not un- 
mingled with a feeling of exultation, tidings of the 
anticipated triumph of his brethren. The eyes of the 
entire world were turned in expectancy to the spot 
where must speedily be tested the respective prowess 
of the North and South; to the struggle which would 
forever determine the future of Europe, and decide 
without appeal the fate of Christianity. Onward, 
resistlessly, pitilessly, rolled the devastating flood of 
invasion. The Duke of Aquitaine had bravely met 
his enemies on the very slopes of the mountain barrier, 
but all his efforts were powerless to stay their progress. 
Cities were reduced to ashes and their inhabitants 
driven into slavery. The pastures were swept clean 
of their flocks; the blooming hill-sides and fertile 
valleys of the Garonne were transformed into scenes 
of desolation. Bordeaux, the populous and wealthy 
emporium of Aquitaine, paid for a short and ineffec- 
tual resistance with the plunder of its treasures, the 
massacre of its citizens, and its total destruction by 
fire. The Moorish army, encumbered with thousands 
of captives and the booty of an entire province, 
crossed the Garonne with difficulty, and resumed its 
slow and straggling march towards the interior. 
Upon the banks of the Dordogne Eudes had mar- 
shalled his followers to contest its passage. A fierce 
battle ensued; the Christians, overwhelmed by num- 
bers, were surrounded and cut to pieces; and the 
carnage was so horrible as to excite the pity of the 
rude historians of an age prolific in violence and blood- 
shed. The conquest of Aquitaine achieved, the Emir 
moved on to Poitiers, and after ravaging the suburbs 

Moorish Empire in Europe 299 

of that city, where stood the famous Church of St. 
Hilary, which was utterly destroyed, planted the white 
standard of the Ommeyades before its walls. That 
country, whose hostile factions were subsequently 
reconciled and consolidated by the genius of Charle- 
magne, and which is known to us as France, was, 
during the seventh century, in a state of frightful 
anarchy. In the South, the important province of 
Septimania had formerly acknowledged the suprem- 
acy of the Visigoths, and after the overthrow of 
their empire had enjoyed a nominal independence. 
Aquitaine was subject to its dukes, who maintained 
an unequal contest with the growing powers of the 
North and the insatiable ambition of the Saracens. 
Towards the East, the petty lord of Austrasia was 
involved in perpetual intrigues and hostilities with 
his turbulent neighbors, the princes of Neustria and 
Burgundy. In the year 638, with the death of the 
renowned Dagobert, whose dominions extended to the 
Danube, disappeared the last vestige of independence 
and authorit}^ possessed by the monarchs of the Mero- 
vingian dynasty. Henceforth the regal power was 
vested in, and practically exercised by, the bold and 
able mayors of the palace, the prime ministers of the 
rois faineants j who, through indifference or compul- 
sion, were apparently contented with the titles and 
glittering baubles of royalty. The superior talents 
of the priest were industriously employed in enrich- 
ing his church or his abbey, and the zeal and fears of 
the devout co-operating with the avarice of the clergy, 
the sacred edifices became depositories of treasures 
which dazzled the eyes of the greedy freebooters of 
Abd-al-Rahman with their magnificence and value. 
No sovereign in Europe could boast of such wealth 
as had been accumulated through the lavish gener- 
osity of pilgrims and penitents by the shrines of 
St. Hilary of Poitiers and St. Martin of Tours. 

300 History of the 

The ecclesiastics habitually represented themselves 
as the treasurers of heaven, the chosen intermediaries 
with the saints ; and the most costly gift was scarcely 
considered an equivalent for a hasty blessing or a relic 
of more than doubtful authenticity, graciously be- 
stowed upon the humble and delighted contributor to 
clerical rapacity and monkish imposture. 

The manly vigor inherited from a barbarian an- 
cestry, developed and strengthened by military exer- 
cises, had formed of the Franks a nation of heroes. 
Their gigantic forms, encased in mail, enabled them 
to resist assaults which must have overwhelmed mor- 
tals of less ponderous build. A phlegmatic tempera- 
ment, joined to a devotion to their lords which never 
questioned the justice of their commands, imparted 
to them steadiness and inflexible constancy in the 
field. Their naturally ferocious aspect was increased 
by grotesque helmets of towering height, and by the 
skins of wild beasts which draped their massive shoul- 
ders, while their weapons were of a size and weight 
that the demigods of old alone might wield. Such 
were the warriors to whose valor were now com- 
mitted the destinies of the Christian world. The 
throne of the Franks was then occupied by Thierry 
IV., one of a series of royal phantoms, who had been 
exalted to this nominal dignity by a certain mayor 
of the palace named Charles, the natural son of Pepin 
d'Heristal, Duke of Austrasia. It was the policy of 
these officials, necessarily men of talent, whose abilities 
had raised them to prominence, and who controlled 
the empire of the state, to bestow the crown upon 
princely youths purposely familiarized with vice, that 
every noble aspiration might be stifled and every 
patriotic impulse repressed in the indulgence of the 
most wanton and effeminate luxury. The profligate 
habits of these sovereigns, which shortened their 
reigns, account for their number and rapid succession 
in the annals of France. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 301 

The chroniclers of the eighth and ninth centuries, 
garrulous upon the martyrdom of saints and the per- 
formance of miracles, have scarcely mentioned the 
achievements of the most remarkable personage of 
his time. Their well-known enmity to his name, asso- 
ciated with the appropriation of church property, 
although employed for the preservation of Chris- 
tendom, has had, no doubt, much to do with this 
contemptuous silence. Pepin, using the privilege 
sanctioned by the depraved manners of the age, 
lived in concubinage with Alpaide, the mother of 
Charles, whose social position was yet so little in- 
ferior to that of a matrimonial alliance that she is 
often spoken of as a second wife. An austere pre- 
late, Lambert by name, who occupied the See of 
Maestricht, with a boldness and zeal unusual in the 
complaisant churchmen of the eighth century, saw 
fit to publicly rebuke Pepin for this unlawful con- 
nection, and, with studied insult, rejected the hospi- 
tality which the kindness of the Mayor of the Palace 
had tendered him. Offended by this exhibition of 
ill-breeding and independence, the brother of the lady 
procured the murder of the bishop, who was forth- 
with canonized, and is still prominent among the most 
efficient intercessors of the Roman Catholic calendar. 
The murderers, careless alike of the anathemas of the 
Church and of the process of the law, remained un- 
punished; while the populace of Liege, where the 
bishop was a favorite, erected a chapel to the memory 
of the fearless ecclesiastic. The whole occurrence 
affords a curious and striking commentary on- the 
immorality, lawlessness, and peculiar domestic habits 
of the Middle Ages in France. 

Tradition has ascribed to Charles the assassination 
of his brother Grimwald, with whom he was to have 
shared his paternal inheritance ; and the absence of any 
other known motive, the avowed hostility of his father, 

302 History of the 

who imprisoned him, as well as the significant silence 
of the historians evidently trembling under the stern 
rule of the Mayor of the Palace give considerable 
probability to this hypothesis. Although disinherited, 
the attachment of the people was such that he was, 
immediately after the death of Pepin, rescued from 
a dungeon and raised to the dukedom. Succeeding 
events justified the wisdom of this measure. The 
address of Charles allayed the civil dissensions of 
the Franks; his valor and military genius awed 
and restrained the restless barbarians of Germany. 
Although unquestionably the preserver of Chris- 
tianity, he is more than suspected of having been 
an idolater, his title, Martel, having been traced by 
antiquaries to the hammer of Thor, the emblem of 
the war-god of Scandinavia. He had no reverence 
for the Church, no belief in its doctrines, no considera- 
tion for its possessions, no regard for its ministers. 
He seized reliquaries and sacred vessels destined for 
communion with God, and coined them into money to 
pay the expenses of his campaigns. He despoiled the 
clergy of their lands and partitioned them among his 
followers. The most eminent of his captains he in- 
vested with the offices of bishops, after expelling the 
rightful incumbents in order to the better retain con- 
trol of their confiscated estates. This sacrilegious 
policy, while it exasperated the priesthood, endeared 
him to his soldiers who were the recipients of his 
bounty; but the wrath of the ecclesiastical order was 
not appeased even by his inestimable services to its 
cause. Anathematized by popes and councils, legends 
inspired by monkish credulity and hatred have sol- 
emnly asserted that his soul had been repeatedly seen 
by holy men surrounded by demons in the depths of 

Of the personal characteristics, habits, and domestic 
life of Charles Martel we know absolutely nothing. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 303 

Equally silent is history as to the regulations of his 
capital, the constitution of his court, the rules of his 
military tactics, the principles of his government, the 
names of his councillors. The bitterness of ecclesias- 
tical prejudice while it has cursed his memory has not 
been able to tarnish his renown. Historical justice has 
given him the full measure of credit due to his ex- 
ploits, whose importance was not appreciated by his 
contemporaries, and has accorded him a high rank 
among the great military commanders of the world. 
Accustomed to arms from childhood, Charles had 
passed the greater portion of his life in camps. He 
had conquered Neustria, intimidated Burgundy, and 
had, in many successful expeditions against the for- 
midable barbarians of the Rhine, left bloody evidences 
of his prowess as far as the banks of the Elbe and 
the Danube. He had laid claim to the suzerainty of 
Aquitaine in the name of the royal figure-head under 
whose authority he prosecuted his conquests; and 
Eudes had hitherto regarded his demonstrations with 
even greater fear and aversion than the periodical 
forays of the Saracens. Now, however, the crest- 
fallen Duke of Aquitaine sought the presence of his 
ancient foe, did homage to him, and implored his aid. 
The practised eye and keen intellect of Charles dis- 
cerned at once the serious nature of the impending 
danger, and with characteristic promptitude sought to 
avert it. His soldiers, living only in camps and always 
under arms, were ready to march at a moment's notice. 
Soon a great army was assembled, and, amidst the 
deafening shouts of the soldiery, the general of the 
Franks, confident of the superiority of his followers 
in endurance and discipline, advanced to meet the 
enemy. The latter, discouraged by the bold front 
presented by the inhabitants of Poitiers, who had 
been nerved to desperation by the memorable ex- 
ample of Bordeaux, had, in the mean time, raised 

304 History of the 

the siege, and were marching towards Tours, at- 
tracted by the fame of the vast wealth of the Church 
and Abbey of St. Martin. Upon an immense plain 
between the two cities the rival hosts confronted each 
other. This same region, the centre of France, still 
cherished the remembrance of a former contest in 
which, centuries before, the Goths and Burgundians 
under command of iEtius had avenged the wrongs 
of Europe upon the innumerable hordes of Attila. 
Of good augury and a harbinger of success was 
this former victory regarded by the stalwart warriors 
of the North, now summoned a second time to check 
the progress of the barbarian flood of the Orient. 
Widely different in race, in language, in personal 
appearance, in religion, in military evolutions and in 
arms, each secretly dreading the result of the inevi- 
table conflict and each unwilling to retire, for seven 
days the two armies remained without engaging, but 
constantly drawn up in battle array. Finally, unable 
to longer restrain the impetuosity of the Arabs, Abd- 
al-Rahman gave orders for the attack. With loud 
cries the light squadrons of Moorish cavalry, followed 
pell-mell by the vast mob of foot soldiers, hurled 
themselves upon the solid, steel-clad files of the 
Franks. But the latter stood firm like a " wall of 
ice," in the quaint language of the ancient chronicler 
the darts and arrows of the Saracens struck harm- 
lessly upon helmet and cuirass, while the heavy swords 
and maces of the men-at-arms of Charles made fright- 
ful havoc among the half -naked bodies of their assail- 
ants. Night put an end to the battle, and the Franks, 
for the moment relieved from an ordeal which they 
had sustained with a courage worthy of their reputa- 
tion, invoking the aid of their saints, yet not without 
misgivings for the morrow, slept upon their arms. 
At dawn the conflict was renewed with equal ardor 
and varying success until the afternoon, when a divi- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 305 

sion of cavalry under the Duke of Aquitaine suc- 
ceeded in turning the flank of the enemy, and began 
to pillage his camp. As the tidings of this misfortune 
spread through the ranks of the Moslems, large num- 
bers deserted their standards and turned back to re- 
cover their booty, far more valuable in their estimation 
than even their own safety or the triumph of their 
cause. Great confusion resulted; the retreat became 
general; the Franks redoubled their efforts; and 
Abd-al-Rahman, endeavoring to rally his disheart- 
ened followers, fell pierced with a hundred wounds. 
That night, aided by the darkness, the Saracens 
silently withdrew, leaving their tents and heavy 
baggage behind. Charles, fearful of ambuscades, 
and having acquired great respect for the prowess 
of his adversaries, whose overwhelming numbers, en- 
abling them to attack him in both front and rear, had 
seriously thinned his ranks, declined the pursuit, and 
with the spoils abandoned by the Saracens returned to 
his capital. 

The Arabs have left us no account of the losses sus- 
tained in this battle. The mendacious monks, how- 
ever, to whom by reason of their knowledge of letters 
was necessarily entrusted the task of recording the 
events of the time, have computed the loss of the 
invaders at three hundred and seventy-five thousand, 
probably thrice the number of all the combatants 
engaged ; while that of the Franks is regarded as too 
insignificant to be mentioned. The very fact that 
Charles was disinclined to take advantage of the 
condition of his enemies loaded with plunder, de- 
prived of their commander, and dejected by defeat, 
shows of itself that his army must have greatly 
suffered. The principal accounts that we possess of 
this battle, whose transcendent importance is recog- 
nized by every student of history, bear unmistakable 
evidence of the ecclesiastical partiality under whose 

Vol. I. 20 

306 History of the 

influence they were composed. Monkish writers have 
exhausted their prolific imagination in recounting the 
miraculous intervention of the saints and the prowess 
of the champions of the Cross, which insured the 
preservation of Christianity. The Arabs, however, 
usually accurate and minute even in the relation of 
their misfortunes, have not paid the attention to this 
great event which its effect upon their fortunes would 
seem to warrant. Many ignore it altogether. Others 
pass it by with a few words. Some refer to it, not 
as a stubbornly contested engagement, but as a rout 
provoked by the disorders of an unwieldy multitude, 
inflamed with fanaticism, divided by faction, impa- 
tient of discipline. From such meagre and discordant 
materials must be constructed the narrative of one of 
the most momentous occurrences in the history of the 

An account of the crushing defeat of Poitiers hav- 
ing been communicated to the Viceroy of Africa, he 
appointed Abd-al-Melik-Ibn-Kattan, an officer of the 
African army, Emir of Spain, and, presenting him 
with his commission, urgently exhorted him to avenge 
the reverse which had befallen the Moslem arms. The 
martial spirit of this commander, in whom the lapse 
of fourscore and ten years had not sensibly impaired 
the vigor of his mind or the activity of his body, 
was roused to enthusiasm by the prospect of an en- 
counter with the idolaters of the North. Detained 
for a time in Cordova by the disturbances resulting 
from the disorganization of all branches of the govern- 
ment, he attempted, at the head of the remains of the 
defeated army and a reinforcement which had accom- 
panied him from Africa, to thread the dangerous 
passes of the Pyrenees. But the time was ill-chosen; 
the rainy season was at hand; and the Saracens, 
hemmed in by impassable torrents, fell an easy prey 
to the missiles of an enterprising enemy. The march 

Moorish Empire in Europe 307 

became a series of harassing skirmishes; and it was 
with the greatest difficulty that the Emir was enabled 
to extricate the remainder of his troops from the snare 
into which his want of caution had conducted them. 
Disgusted with the miscarriage of the expedition from 
whose results so much had been expected, Obeydallah, 
Viceroy of Africa, promptly deposed Abd-al-Melik, 
and nominated his own brother, Okbah-Ibn-al-Hejaj, 
to the vacant position. A martinet in severity and 
routine, Okbah enjoyed also a well-founded reputa- 
tion for justice and integrity. He soon became the 
terror of the corrupt and tyrannical officials who in- 
fested the administration. He removed such as had 
been prominent for cruelty, fraud, or incompetency. 
To all who were guilty of peculation, or of even indi- 
rectly reflecting upon the honor and dignity of the 
Khalif, he was inexorable. With a view to insuring 
the safety of the highways, he formed a mounted 
police, the Ivaschefs, in which may be traced the germ 
of the Hermandad of the fifteenth century and the 
modern Gendarmes and Civil Guards of France and 
Spain. From this institution, extended to the fron- 
tiers of Moslem territory as far as the Rhone, was 
derived the military organization of the Ribat the 
prototype of the knightly orders of Calatrava, Alcan- 
tara, and Santiago, which played so conspicuous a part 
in the Reconquest. Okbah established a court in every 
village, so that all honest citizens might enjoy the pro- 
tection of the law. His fostering care also provided 
each community with a school sustained by a special 
tax levied for that purpose. Devout to an almost 
fanatical degree, he erected a mosque whenever the 
necessities of the people seemed to demand it, and, 
thoroughly alive to the advantages of a religious 
education, he attached to every place of worship a 
minister who might instruct the ignorant in the 
doctrines of the Koran and the duties of a faithful 

308 History of the 

Mussulman. He repressed with an iron hand the 
ferocious spirit of the vagrant tribes of Berbers, 
whose kinsmen in Africa had, in many battles, 
formerly experienced the effects of his valor and 
discipline. By equalizing the taxation borne by 
different communities, he secured the gratitude of 
districts which had hitherto been oppressed by 
grievous impositions, rendered still more intolerable 
by the rapacity of unprincipled governors. No 
period in the history of the emirate was distin- 
guished by such important and radical reforms as 
that included in the administration of Okbah-Ibn-al- 

The Berbers, having engaged in one of their 
periodical revolts in Africa, Obeydallah, unable to 
make headway against them, sent a despatch re- 
quiring the immediate attendance of Okbah. The 
latter, at the head of a body of cavalry, crossed the 
strait, and, after a decisive battle, put the rebels to 
flight. His services were found so indispensable by 
the Viceroy that he kept him near his person in the 
capacity of councillor for four years, while he still 
enjoyed the title and emoluments of governor of 
Spain. In the meantime, the greatest disorders pre- 
vailed in the Peninsula. The salutary reforms which 
had employed the leisure and exercised the abilities 
of the prudent Viceroy were swept away; the old 
order of things was renewed; and the provinces of 
the emirate were disgraced by the revival of feuds, 
by the oppression of the weak, by the neglect of 
agriculture, by unchecked indulgence in peculation, 
and by the universal prevalence of anarchy and blood- 

The dread of Charles Martel and the ruthless bar- 
barians under his command was wide-spread through- 
out the provinces of Southern France. Their excesses 
appeared the more horrible when contrasted with the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 309 

tolerant and equitable rule of the Saracens who gar- 
risoned the towns of Septimania. The Provencal, 
whose voluptuous habits led him to avoid the hard- 
ships of the camp, and whose religious ideas, little 
infected with bigotry, saw nothing repulsive in the 
law of Islam, determined to seek the aid of his 
swarthy neighbors of the South. As Charles had 
already ravaged the estates of Maurontius, Duke of 
Marseilles, only desisting when recalled by a revolt 
of the Saxons, that powerful noble, whose authority 
extended over the greater part of Provence, in an- 
ticipation of his return, entered into negotiations with 
Yusuf-Ibn-Abd-al-Rahman, wali of Narbonne; a 
treaty was concluded, by the terms of which the Arabs 
were invited to assume the suzerainty of Provence, 
many towns were ceded to them, and the counts 
rendered homage to the Moslem governor, who, in 
order to discharge his portion of the obligation and 
afford protection to his new subjects, assembled his 
forces upon the line of the northern frontier. It was 
at this time that Okbah was summoned to quell the 
rebellion of the Berbers just as he was upon the point 
of advancing to secure, by a powerful reinforcement, 
this valuable addition to his dominions. 

Early in the year 737, Charles, having intimi- 
dated his enemies and secured a temporary peace, 
made preparations for an active campaign in Prov- 
ence. Driving the Arabs out of Lyons, he advanced 
to the city of Avignon, whose natural position was 
recognized by both Franks and Saracens not only as 
a place of extraordinary strength but as the key of 
the valley of the Rhone. Experience and contact with 
their more civilized neighbors, the Italians, had in- 
structed the Franks in the use of military engines; 
and, notwithstanding the desperate resistance of the 
Arab garrison, ably seconded by the inhabitants, 
Avignon was taken by storm. The population was 

310 History of the 

butchered without mercy, and Charles, having com- 
pletely glutted his vengeance by burning the city, left 
it a heap of smoking ruins. 

Having been delayed by the stubborn opposition 
of Avignon, and urged by the clamors of his fol- 
lowers who thirsted for the rich spoils of Septimania, 
the Frankish general, leaving the fortified town of 
Aries in his rear, marched directly upon Narbonne. 
Thoroughly appreciating the political and military 
importance of this stronghold, the capital of their 
possessions in France, the Arabs had spared neither 
labor nor expense to render it impregnable. The 
city was invested and the siege pressed with vigor, 
but the fortifications defied the efforts of the besiegers 
and little progress was made towards its reduction. 
An expedition sent to reinforce it, making the ap- 
proach by sea and attempting to ascend the river 
Aude, was foiled by the vigilance of Charles; the 
boats were stopped by palisades planted in the bed of 
the stream; the Saracens, harassed by the enemy's 
archers, were despatched with arrows or drowned in 
the swamps; and, of a considerable force, a small 
detachment alone succeeded in cutting its way through 
the lines of the besiegers and entering the city. The 
temper of the Franks was not proof, however, against 
the undaunted resolution of the Arab garrison. Un- 
able to restrain the growing impatience of his undis- 
ciplined levies, Charles reluctantly abandoned the 
siege and endeavored to indemnify himself for his 
disappointment by the infliction of all the unspeak- 
able atrocities of barbarian warfare upon the territory 
accessible to his arms. Over the beautiful plains of 
Provence and Languedoc, adorned with structures 
which recalled the palmiest days of Athenian and 
Roman genius, and whose population was the most 
polished of Western Europe, swept the fierce cavalry 
of the Alps and the Rhine. Agde, Maguelonne, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 311 

and Beziers were sacked. The city of Nimes, whose 
marvellous relics of antiquity are still the delight of 
the student and the antiquary, provoked the indigna- 
tion of the invader by these marks of her intellectual 
superiority and former greatness. Her walls were 
razed; her churches plundered; her most eminent 
citizens carried away as hostages; her most splendid 
architectural monuments delivered to the flames. The 
massive arches of the Roman amphitheatre defied, 
however, the puny efforts of the enraged barbarian; 
but their blackened stones still exhibit the traces of 
fire, an enduring seal of the impotent malice of 
Charles Martel impressed in the middle of the eighth 

In this memorable invasion the Arab colonists do 
not seem to have suffered so much as the indigenous 
population, which had long before incurred the enmity 
of the Franks. The ecclesiastical order met with scant 
courtesy at the hands of the idolaters. Despising the 
terrors of anathema and excommunication, Charles did 
not hesitate to appropriate the wealth of the Church 
wherever he could find it. Having inflicted all the 
damage possible upon the subjects and allies of the 
Khalif in Provence, the Franks, loaded with booty 
and driving before them a vast multitude of captives 
chained together in couples, returned in triumph to 
their homes. 

This occupation of the Franks proved to be but 
temporary. The garrisons left in the towns whose 
walls were intact were insufficient to overawe the popu- 
lace exasperated by the outrages it had just sustained. 
The Duke of Marseilles, seconded by the wali of 
Aries, easily regained control of the country around 
Avignon. But the return of Charles during the 
following year with his ally Liutprand, King of the 
Lombards, and a large army, not only recovered the 
lost territory but took Aries, hitherto exempt from 

312 History of the 

capture, and drove the Saracens beyond the Rhone, 
which river for the future became their eastern boun- 
dary, a limit they were destined never again to pass. 

The absence of Okbah encouraged the spirit of re- 
bellion, ever rife in the Peninsula. He had hardly 
returned before the arts of intrigue and the discon- 
tent of the populace raised up a formidable rival to 
his authority. Abd-al-Melik-Ibn-Kattan, who had 
formerly been Emir, now usurped that office. In 
the civil war which followed, the fortunes of Abd-al- 
Melik soon received a powerful impulse by the death 
of his competitor at Carcassonne. 

We now turn to the coast of Africa, a region which 
from first to last has exerted an extraordinary and 
always sinister influence over the destinies of the 
Mohammedan empire in Europe. The intractable 
character of the Berbers, and their aversion to the 
restraints of law and the habits of civilized life, had 
defied the efforts of the ablest soldiers and negotiators 
to control them. In consequence, the dominant Arab 
element was not disposed to conciliate savages who 
recognized no authority but that of force, and imposed 
upon them the most oppressive exactions, prompted 
partly by avarice and partly by tribal hatred. The 
impetus of Berber insurrection was communicated by 
contact and sympathy to the settlements of their 
kindred in Spain, where the spirit of insubordination 
under a less severe government made its outbreaks 
more secure, and, at the same time, more formidable. 
Obeydallah, the present Viceroy, was influenced by 
these feelings of scorn even more than a majority of 
his countrymen. A true Arab, educated in the best 
schools of Syria, of energetic character and bigoted 
impulses, he regarded the untamable tribesmen of 
Africa as below the rank of slaves. While collector 
of the revenue in Egypt he had provoked a rebellion 
of the Copts on account of an arbitrary increase 

Moorish Empire in Europe 313 

of taxes, levied solely because the tributaries were 
infidels. Under his rule the lot of the Berbers be- 
came harder than ever. Their flocks, which consti- 
tuted their principal wealth, were wantonly slaugh- 
tered to provide wool for the couches of the luxurious 
nobility of Damascus. Their women were seized, to 
be exposed in the slave-markets of Cairo and Antioch. 
Their tributes were doubled at the caprice of the 
governor, in whose eyes the life of a misbeliever was 
of no more consideration than that of a wild beast, 
for, being enjoyed under protest, it could be forfeited 
at the will of his superior. Day by day the grievances 
of the Berbers became more unendurable, and the 
thirst for liberty and vengeance kept pace with the 
ever-increasing abuses which had provoked it. At first 
the tribes, while professedly Mussulman, in reality re- 
mained idolaters, fetich-worshippers, the pliant tools 
of conjurers and charlatans. Over the whole nation 
a priesthood by snake -charming, by the interpreta- 
tion of omens, by spurious miracles, by the arts of 
sorcery had acquired unbounded influence; and the 
names of these impostors, canonized after death, were 
believed to have more power to avert misfortune than 
the invocation of the Almighty. In time, however, 
the zealous labors of exiled Medinese and Persian non- 
conformists had supplanted the grosser forms of this 
superstition by a religion whose fervor was hardly 
equalled by that displayed by the most fanatical Com- 
panion of Mohammed. The scoffing and polished 
Arabs of Syria, of whom the Viceroy was a promi- 
nent example, Pagan by birth and infidel in belief 
and practice, were sedulously represented as the 
enemies of Heaven and the hereditary revilers of 
the Prophet, whom it was a duty to destroy. These 
revolutionary sentiments, received in Africa with ap- 
plause, were diffused through Spain by the tide of 
immigration, in which country, as elsewhere, they 

314 History of the 

were destined soon to produce the most important 
political results. The Berbers, wrought up to a pitch 
of ungovernable fury, now only awaited a suitable 
opportunity to inaugurate the most formidable revolt 
which had ever menaced the Mohammedan govern- 
ment of Africa. In the year 740 an increased con- 
tribution was demanded of the inhabitants of Tangier, 
whose relations with the savages of the neighboring 
mountains had prevented the conversion of the former 
to Islam. A division of the army was absent in Sicily, 
and the Berbers, perceiving their advantage, rose 
everywhere against their oppressors. They stormed 
Tangier, expelled the garrisons of the seacoast cities, 
elected a sovereign, and defeated in rapid succession 
every force sent against them. The pride and resent- 
ment of the Khalif Hischem at last impelled him to 
despatch a great army against his rebellious subjects. 
It numbered seventy thousand, and was commanded 
by a distinguished Syrian officer, Balj-Ibn-Beshr, who 
was ordered to put to death without mercy every rebel 
who might fall into his hands and to indulge the 
troops in all the license of indiscriminate pillage. 
Marching towards the west, the Syrian general en- 
countered the Berbers on the plain of Mulwiyah. The 
naked bodies and inferior weapons of the insurgents 
provoked the contempt of the soldiers of the Khalif, 
who expected an easy victory; but the resistless im- 
pulse of the barbarians supplied the want of arms 
and discipline, and the Syrians were routed with the 
loss of two-thirds of their number. Some ten thou- 
sand horsemen, under command of Balj, cut their way 
through the enemy and took refuge in Ceuta. The 
Berbers, aware of the impossibility of reducing that 
place, ravaged the neighborhood for miles around, 
and, having blockaded the town on all sides, the 
Syrians, unable to escape or to obtain provisions, were 
threatened with a lingering death by famine. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 315 

Abd-al-Melik, Emir of Spain, was a native of 
Medina. Half a century before he had been promi- 
nent in the Arab army at the battle of Harra, the 
bloody prelude to the sack of the Holy City and the 
enslavement and exile of its citizens. To him, in vain, 
did the Syrian general apply for vessels in which to 
cross the strait. The Arab chieftain, bearing upon 
his body many scars inflicted by the spears of Yezid's 
troopers and who had seen his family and his neigh- 
bors massacred before his face, now exulted in the 
prospect of an unhoped-for revenge; and, for the 
complete accomplishment of his purpose, he issued 
stringent orders against supplying the unfortunate 
Syrians with supplies. The sympathy of Zeyad-Ibn- 
Amru, a wealthy resident of Cordova, was aroused by 
the account of their sufferings, and he imprudently 
fitted out two vessels for their relief; which act of 
insubordination having been communicated to the 
Emir, he ordered Zeyad to be imprisoned, and, having 
put out his eyes, impaled him, in company with a 
dog, a mark of ignominy inflicted only on the worst 
of criminals. 

The news of the decisive victory obtained by the 
Berbers over the army of the Khalif was received with 
pride and rejoicing by all of their countrymen in 
Spain. The efforts of the missionaries, aided by the 
fiery zeal of their proselytes, had infused into the 
population of the North, composed largely of African 
colonists, a spirit of fanaticism which threatened to 
carry everything before it. In a moment the Berbers 
of Aragon, Galicia, and Estremadura sprang to arms. 
Uniting their forces they elected officers; then, or- 
ganized in three divisions, they prepared to dispute the 
authority of the Emir in the strongholds of his power. 
One body marched upon Cordova, another invested 
Toledo, and the third directed its course towards Alge- 
ziras, with designs upon the fleet, by whose aid they 

316 History of the 

expected to massacre the Syrians in Ceuta and to 
collect a body of colonists sufficient to destroy the 
haughty Arab aristocracy of the Peninsula and found 
an independent kingdom, Berber in nationality, schis- 
matic and precisian in religion. 

And now were again exhibited the singular incon- 
sistencies and remarkable effects of the fatal antago- 
nism of race. The critical condition of Abd-al-Melik 
compelled him to implore the support of his Syrian 
foes, whom he hated with far more bitterness than he 
did his rebellious subjects, and who were also thor- 
oughly cognizant of his feelings towards them as well 
as of the political necessity which prompted his ad- 
vances. A treaty was executed, by whose terms the 
Syrians were to be transported into Spain and pledged 
their assistance to crush the rebellion, and, after this 
had been accomplished, the Emir agreed to land them 
in Africa upon a territory which acknowledged the 
jurisdiction of the Khalif. Hostages selected from 
their principal officers were delivered by the half- 
famished refugees, and they embarked for Anda- 
lusia, where the policy of the government and the 
sympathy of the people supplied them with food, 
clothing, and arms, and their drooping spirits soon 
revived. These experienced soldiers, united with the 
forces of Abd-al-Melik, attacked and routed with ease, 
one after another, the three Berber armies. All of 
the plunder which the latter had collected fell into 
their hands, in addition to that secured by expeditions 
into the now undefended country of their enemies. 
His apprehensions concerning the Berbers having been 
removed, Abd-al-Melik now became anxious to relieve 
his dominions of the presence of allies whose success 
rendered them formidable. But the allurements of 
soil and climate had made the Syrians reluctant to 
abandon the beautiful land of Andaluz, the region 
where they had accumulated so much wealth, the scene 

Moorish Empire in Europe 317 

where their efforts had been crowned with so much 
glory. Disputes arose between their leader and the 
Emir concerning the interpretation of the treaty ; the 
Syrian general, conscious of his power, lost no oppor- 
tunity to provoke the fiery temper of Abd-al-Melik ; 
and, at last, taking advantage of a favorable occasion, 
he expelled the latter from his capital. Balj, elected 
to the viceroyalty by his command, proceeded at once 
to extend and confirm his newly acquired authority. 
The hostages confined near Algeziras were released, 
and their accounts of harsh treatment enraged their 
companions, who recalled their own sufferings and 
the inhumanity of Abd-al-Melik during their block- 
ade in Ceuta. With loud cries they demanded the 
death of the Emir. The efforts of their officers to 
stem the torrent were futile; a mob dragged the 
venerable prince from his palace, and, taking him to 
the bridge outside the city of Cordova, crucified him 
between a dog and a hog, animals whose contact is 
suggestive of horrible impurity to a Mussulman and 
whose very names are epithets of vileness and con- 
tempt. Thus perished ignominiously this stout old 
soldier, who could boast of the purest blood of the 
Koreish; who had witnessed the wonderful changes 
of three eventful generations; who had seen service 
under the standard of Islam in Arabia, Egypt, Al- 
Maghreb, France, and Spain; who had bravely de- 
fended the tomb of the Prophet at Medina, and had 
confronted with equal resolution the mail-clad squad- 
rons of Charles upon the banks of the Rhone; who 
had twice administered in troublous times the affairs 
of the Peninsula; and who now, long past that age 
when men seek retirement from the cares of public 
life, still active and vigorous, was sacrificed, through 
his own imprudence, to the irreconcilable hatred of 
tribal antagonism. An act of such atrocity, without 
considering the prominence of the victim, the na- 

318 History of the 

tionality of the participants, or the degree of provo- 
cation, was, independent of its moral aspect, highly 
impolitic and most prejudicial to the interests of the 
revolutionists. The Syrians became practically iso- 
lated in a foreign country. The sons of Abd-al-Melik, 
who held important commands in the North, assembled 
a great army. Reinforcements were furnished by the 
governor of Narbonne, and the fickle Berbers joined 
in considerable numbers the ranks of their former 

At a little village called Aqua-Portera, not far from 
Cordova, the Arabs and Berbers attacked the foreign- 
ers, who had enlisted as their auxiliaries a number of 
criminals and outlaws. In the battle which followed 
the latter were victorious, but lost their general Balj, 
who fell in a single combat with the governor of Nar- 
bonne. The Syrians, whose choice was immediately 
confirmed by the Khali f, elected as his successor, 
Thalaba-Ibn-Salamah, a monster whose name was 
afterwards stained with acts of incredible infamy. 
His inhumanity was proverbial. His troops gave 
no quarter. The wives and children of his opponents, 
whose liberty even the most violent of his party had 
respected, were enslaved. Other victims he had pre- 
viously exposed at auction before the gates of Cor- 
dova, under circumstances of the grossest cruelty and 
humiliation. The most illustrious of these were nobles 
of the party of Medina. By an exquisite refinement 
of insult he caused them to be disposed of to the 
lowest, instead of the highest, bidder, and even 
bartered publicly for impure and filthy animals the 
descendants of the friends of Mohammed, members 
of the proudest families of the aristocracy of Arabia. 
But the atrocities of Thalaba had already alienated 
many of the adherents of his own party as well as 
terrified those of the opposite faction, who had no 
mercy to expect at the hands of a leader who neither 

Moorish Empire in Europe 319 

observed the laws of war nor respected the faith of 
treaties. Upon the application of these citizens, most 
of them men of high rank and influential character, 
the Viceroy of Africa sent Abu-al-Khattar to super- 
sede the sanguinary Thalaba. He arrived just in 
time to rescue the unhappy Berbers, many of them 
Moslems, who were already ranged in order for sys- 
tematic massacre. His power was soon felt; and by 
banishing the leaders of the insurgents; by granting 
a general amnesty; by an ample distribution of un- 
settled territory; and by conferring upon the trucu- 
lent strangers a portion of the public revenues, an 
unusual degree of peace and security was soon as- 
sured to the entire Peninsula. In accordance with a 
policy adopted many years before, the various colo- 
nists were assigned to districts which bore some re- 
semblance, in their general features, to the land of 
their nativity, a plan which offered the additional 
advantage of separating these turbulent spirits from 
each other, thus rendering mutual co-operation diffi- 
cult, if not impossible, in any enterprise affecting the 
safety or permanence of the central power. 

The first months of the administration of Abu-al- 
Khattar were distinguished by a degree of forbear- 
ance and charity unusual amidst the disorder which 
now prevailed in every province of the Moslem em- 
pire. But his partisans had wrongs to avenge, and 
the Emir had not the moral courage to resist the im- 
portunate demands of his kindred. An unjust ju- 
dicial decision provoked reproach ; insult led to blood- 
shed; the fiery Maadites rushed to arms; and once 
more the Peninsula assumed its ordinary aspect of 
political convulsion and civil war. Al-Samil and 
Thalaba, two captains of distinction, obtained the 
supremacy; the Emir was imprisoned, then rescued, 
and, after several ineffectual attempts to regain his 
authority, put to death. Having overpowered its 

320 History of the 

adversary, the triumphant Maadite faction gratified 
its revengeful impulses to the utmost by plunder, 
torture, and assassination. At length the condition 
of affairs becoming intolerable, and no prospect ex- 
isting of relief from the East, where the candidates 
of rival tribes contended for the tempting prize of 
the khalifate, a council of officers was convoked, and 
Yusuf-Abd-al-Rahman-al-Fehri was unanimouslv 
chosen governor of Spain. 

This commander had, by many years of faithful 
service in France, by strict impartiality in his deci- 
sions, and by a bravery remarkable among a people 
with whom the slightest sign of cowardice was an 
indelible disgrace, won the respect and admiration of 
his contemporaries. His lineage was high, his person 
attractive, his manners dignified and courteous. He 
had defended Narbonne against the power of Charles 
Martel, whose army, flushed with victory and ani- 
mated by the presence of the great Mayor of the 
Palace himself, had been unable to shake his confi- 
dence or disturb his equanimity. But his eminent 
qualifications for the position to which he was now 
called did not depend upon his former services and 
his personal merit so much as upon the absence which 
had kept him from all the entanglements and in- 
trigues of faction. Thus it was that the fiercest par- 
tisans hailed his election as a harbinger of peace and 
concord ; a wise stroke of policy that might reconcile 
the antagonistic pretensions of the nobles of Damas- 
cus and Medina; curb the lawlessness of the Berbers; 
and restore the Emirate of the West to that tran- 
quillity and prosperity it had at long intervals en- 
joyed, and of which the memory, like a half -forgotten 
tradition, alone remained. This illegal act of the 
officers was without hesitation sanctioned by the 
Khalif Merwan, who prudently overlooked the spirit 
of independence implied by its exercise on account of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 321 

its evident wisdom and the imperative necessity which 
had dictated it. 

The disorders of the unhappy Peninsula had, how- 
ever, become incurable under the present conditions 
of government. All the skill and experience of Yusuf 
were exhausted in fruitless attempts at the adjust- 
ment of territorial disputes and the pacification of 
feuds which a generation of internecine conflict had 
engendered. An insurrection broke out in Septi- 
mania, a province hitherto exempt from similar dis- 
turbances. Ahmed-Ibn-Amru, wali of Seville, whom 
Yusuf had removed from the command of the fleet, a 
chief of the Koreish, whose vast estates enabled him 
to surpass the magnificence of the Emir himself, and 
an aspirant for supreme power, organized and headed 
a formidable conspiracy. His name was associated 
with the early triumphs of Islam, for he was the 
great-grandson of the ensign who had borne the 
standard of Mohammed at the battle of Bedr. 
Prompted by unusual audacity, which was confirmed 
by the possession of wealth, ability, and power, he 
asserted that he had received the commission of the 
Abbasides as Viceroy of Spain. The Asturians, em- 
boldened by the quarrels of their foes, leaving their 
mountain fastnesses, began to push their incursions far 
to the southward. The entire country was engaged in 
hostilities. Every occupation but that of warfare was 
suspended. The herdsman was robbed of his flocks. 
The fertile fields were transformed into a barren 
waste. On all sides were the mournful tokens of 
misery and want ; from palace and hut rose the moan 
of the famishing or the wail for the dead. Intercourse 
between the neighboring cities, alienated by hostility 
or fearful of marauders, ceased. The doubtful tenure 
of authority, dependent upon the incessant changes 
of administration, made it impossible for the Chris- 
tians to ascertain to whom tribute was rightfully due, 

Vol. I. 21 

322 History of the 

and this confusion of interests often subjected them 
to the injustice of double, and even treble, taxation. 
At no time in the history of Spain, since the irruption 
of the Goths, had such a condition of anarchy and 
social wretchedness prevailed ; when the inspiration of 
a few Syrian chieftains brought the existing chaos to 
an end, by the introduction of a new ruler and the 
re-establishment of a dynasty whose princes, the 
tyrants of Damascus, had hitherto reflected little 
more than odium and derision on the Moslem name. 

The history of Spain under the emirs presents a 
melancholy succession of tragic events arising from 
antipathy of race, political ambition, religious zeal, 
and private enmity. An extraordinary degree of 
instability, misrule, distrust, and avarice character- 
ized their administration. The revolutions which 
constantly afflicted the Khalifate of Damascus exer- 
cised no inconsiderable influence over the viceregal 
capitals of Kairoan and Cordova. The Ommeyade 
princes of Syria lived in constant apprehension of 
death by violence. The methods by which they had 
arisen in many instances contributed to their over- 
throw. The assassin of yesterday often became the 
victim of to-day. The perpetration of every crime, 
the indulgence in every vice, by the Successors of the 
Prophet, diminished the faith and loyalty of their 
subjects and seriously affected the prestige and 
divine character believed to attach to their office. 
The subordinates necessarily shared the odium and 
ignominy of their superiors. The Emir of Spain 
labored under a twofold disadvantage. He held 
under the Viceroy of Africa, while the latter was 
appointed directly by the Khalif. This division of 
authority and responsibility was not conducive to the 
interests of good government, social order, or domestic 
tranquillity. The people of the Peninsula, subject to 
the caprices of a double tyranny, could not be expected 

Moorish Empire in Europe 323 

to feel much reverence for the supreme potentate of 
their government and religion thirteen hundred miles 
away. With the accession of each ruler arose fresh 
pretexts for the exercise of every resource of extortion. 
The rapacity of these officials rivalled in the ingenuity 
of its devices and the value of its returns the exactions 
of the Roman proconsuls. The methods by which the 
majority of them maintained their power provoked 
universal execration. Under such political conditions, 
loyalty, union, and commercial prosperity were im- 
possible. The ancient course of affairs an order 
which had existed for three hundred years had been 
rudely interrupted. Even under favorable auspices 
the foundation of a government and the reorganiza- 
tion of society would have been tasks fraught with 
many perplexities and dangers. The Visigothic em- 
pire had, it is true, been subdued, but its national spirit, 
its religion, and its traditions remained. The changes 
of Moslem governors were sudden and frequent. The 
average duration of an emir's official life was exactly 
twenty-seven months. It required the exertion of the 
greatest wisdom, of the most enlightened statesman- 
ship, to avert the calamities which must necessarily 
result from the collision between a heterogeneous 
populace subjected suddenly to the will of a still more 
heterogeneous mass of foreigners; to reconcile the 
interests of adverse factions; to appease the demands 
of wild barbarians unaccustomed to be denied; to 
decide alike profound questions of policy and frivo- 
lous disputes connected with the various gradations 
of ecclesiastical dignity, of hereditary rank, of mili- 
tary distinction, and of social precedence. The in- 
flexibility of the Arab character, the assumed supe- 
riority of the Arab race, the unquenchable fires of 
tribal hatred, the necessity of maintaining the rights 
accorded under solemn treaties to the vanquished, 
enhanced a hundred-fold the difficulties which con- 

324 History of the 

fronted the sovereign. As an inevitable consequence 
a chronic state of disorder prevailed. The authority 
of the Khali fs of Damascus was in fact but nominal, 
and was never invoked except to countenance revolt 
or to assure the obedience of those who faltered in 
their loyalty to the emirs, the actual rulers of Spain. 
But, despite these serious impediments, the genius of 
the Arabian people advanced rapidly in the path of 
civilization, while the dense and sluggish intellect of 
the northern barbarians, who, in their origin, were not 
less ignorant, remained stationary. It took Spain, 
under the Moslems, less than half a century to reach 
a point in human progress which was not attained by 
Italy under the popes in a thousand years. The ca- 
pacity of the Arab mind to absorb, to appropriate, to 
invent, to develop, to improve, has no parallel in the 
annals of any race. The empire of the khalifs in- 
cluded an even greater diversity of climate and nations 
than that of Rome. The ties of universal brotherhood 
proclaimed by the Koran; the connections demanded 
by the requirements of an extended commerce; the 
intimate associations encouraged by the pilgrimage to 
Mecca, awakened the curiosity and enlarged, in an 
equal degree, the minds of the Moslems of Asia, 
Africa, and Europe. Yet more important than all 
was the effect of the almost incessant hostilities waged 
against the infidel. By its constantly varying events, 
its fascinations, its thrilling excitements, its dangers, 
its victories, defeats, and triumphs, war has a remark- 
able tendency to expand the intellectual faculties, and 
thereby to advance the cause of truth and promote the 
improvement of every branch of useful knowledge. 
The advantages derived from travel, experience, and 
conquest the Moslems brought with them into the 
Spanish Peninsula. Under the emirate, however, 
these were constantly counteracted by the ferocious 
and indomitable character of the Berbers. The latter 

Moorish Empire in Europe 325 

did not forget the part they had taken in the Con- 
quest. It was one of their countrymen who had led 
the victorious army. It was the irresistible onset of 
their cavalry which had pierced the Gothic lines on 
the Guadalete. The rapidity of their movements, the 
impetuosity of their attacks, had awed and subdued, in 
a few short months, the populous states of a mighty 
empire. Scarcely had they begun to enjoy the pleas- 
ures of victory before the greed of an hereditary 
enemy of their race snatched from their hands the 
well-earned fruits of their valor. Their commander 
was imprisoned, insulted, and disgraced. Their plun- 
der was seized. Those who evinced a desire for a 
sedentary life were assigned to the bleak and sterile 
plains of La Mancha, Aragon, and Galicia, while the 
Arabs of Syria and the Hedjaz divided among them- 
selves the glorious regions of the South, which tradi- 
tion had designated as the Elysian Fields of the an- 
cients. The arrogant disposition of these lords heaped 
upon their Berber vassals every outrage which malice 
could devise or tyranny execute. The accident of 
African extraction was sufficient to exclude the most 
accomplished and capable soldier from an office of 
responsibility under the Khalifate of Damascus. In 
Spain, as in Al-Maghreb, the fairest virgins of the 
Berber camps were torn from the arms of their parents 
to replenish the harems of the Orient. Under such 
circumstances, it is not strange that the acute sensi- 
bilities of a proud and independent people should have 
been deeply wounded by the infliction of every fresh 
indignity, and their disaffection endanger the stability 
of the new government and imperil the institutions 
of religion itself by fostering the violent spirit of 
tribal animosity, that ominous spectre which constantly 
haunted with its fearful presence the society of city 
and hamlet, and stalked grimly and in menacing 
silence in the very shadow of the throne. 

326 History of the 

The moral and political aspect of the Western world 
coincided in many particulars with that of Spain dur- 
ing the age of transition which preceded the establish- 
ment of the Khalifate of Cordova. Of all the states 
which had composed the vast fabric of the Roman 
Empire scarcely one was at peace with its neighbors or 
exempt from the calamities incident to religious discord 
and civil war. The scanty remains of art and learning 
which had escaped the fury of the barbarians had 
taken refuge in Constantinople, now the intellectual 
centre of Europe. The noble productions of the an- 
cients had, however, been cast aside 'with contempt for 
the homilies of the Fathers, and arguments concern- 
ing the miraculous virtues of images, together with 
daily riots and chariot-races, engaged the attention 
and amused the leisure of the weak and pusillanimous 
Byzantine, whose character, deformed by abject vices, 
had long since forfeited all right to the honored name 
of Roman. The turbulent populace of that great 
city, which virtually dictated the edicts of its rulers, 
protected by its impregnable walls, had seen, with 
craven indifference, its environs plundered and its 
sovereignty defied by the powers of Persian, Goth, 
and Saracen. The genius and energy of its founder 
had been supplanted by the superstitions and cruelties 
of a succession of feeble tyrants, whose manifold 
crimes were now, for a short interval, redeemed by 
the martial talents and political virtues of Leo the 

In Italy, the peace of society was disturbed by the 
iconoclastic heresy and the disorders which accom- 
panied the foundation of a republic, commotions 
destined soon to provoke the interference of the 
Lombards and the subsequent impolitic alliance with 
those perfidious barbarians. The stern and uncom- 
promising character of Gregory the Great had estab- 
lished the Church upon a basis so solid that the efforts 

Moorish Empire in Europe 327 

of all its enemies have to this day been unable to 
prevail against it; and the sagacity of this distin- 
guished pontiff had vindicated the policy of a system 
prompted by the inspiration of almost superhuman 
wisdom, sanctified by the precepts of antiquity, 
strengthened by the enthusiasm of its saints and 
martyrs, and confirmed by the prescription of cen- 

No country in Europe during the eighth century 
exhibited such a picture of unredeemed barbarism as 
Britain. The Romans had never been able to more 
than temporarily establish their institutions in that 
island. The legions with difficulty held in subjection 
a people whom neither force nor the arts of persuasion 
could make amenable to the benefits of civilized life. 
The cruel rites which characterized the worship of the 
Druids had been abolished, but the elegant mythology 
of Italy obtained no hold upon the minds of the 
degraded aborigines, who welcomed with delight the 
savage ceremonies which were performed around the 
altars of the Scandinavian Woden. Upon this uncon- 
genial soil the refining genius of Rome left no perma- 
nent traces of its occupancy, no splendid memorials 
of its art and culture. The nature of the transitory 
impressions emanating from the possession of Britain 
by the masters of the world was disclosed by the crush- 
ing misfortunes which befell the empire in the fifth 
century. Unable to sustain the cares of government, 
hostile chieftains abandoned the island to all the woes 
of anarchy, and partisan jealousy invoked the perilous 
aid of the pirates of Germany, whose dominion was 
finally established only by a war of extermination 
involving both ally and foe. The obscurity of the 
British annals concerning the period under considera- 
tion, dense of itself, is increased by the popular accept- 
ance of myth and legend as historic truth. The chron- 
iclers of Western Europe, however, have made us 

328 History or the 

acquainted with the national character of the Saxons. 
We know that in Britain the customs of the aborigines 
and the laws of the empire were alike abrogated ; that 
no worship prevailed but the basest form of idolatry; 
that every vestige of Roman institutions was swept 
away; that the religion whose maxims had been pro- 
claimed by the eloquence of Augustin was extirpated ; 
and that the voice of faction which had evoked this 
barbarian tempest was silenced in the convulsions 
which preceded the foundation of the Saxon Hep- 
tarchv. The island, whose name is now the most 
familiar one known to mankind, became more mys- 
terious than it had been in the remotest ages of 
antiquity; the country whose constitution is now in- 
separably associated with the enjoyment of the largest 
measure of freedom was then noted as the most advan- 
tageous market for the purchase of slaves. In the 
cultivated society of Constantinople, learned men be- 
lieved that Britain was a region of pestilence and 
horrors, whither, as to a place of eternal punishment, 
the spirits of the Franks were ferried at midnight by 
a tribe of weird fishermen, who, by reason of this ser- 
vice, were exempted from certain burdens and enjoyed 
peculiar privileges. Among the luxurious ecclesiastics 
of Gaul, the slaves imported from Britain were 
greatly esteemed as being both cheap and serviceable ; 
and the sacred office of priest or abbot was not de- 
graded by the ownership of hapless beings in whose 
unnatural parents the feelings of humanity and the 
instincts of affection had been subordinated to the 
debasing passion of avarice. 

The general complexion of affairs in Gaul offered 
a striking analogy to that prevailing in Spain at the 
time of the subversion of the kingdom of the Visi- 
goths. In one respect, however, a difference more 
apparent than real existed ; no monarch was deluded 
by the professed allegiance, and was at the same time 

Moorish Empire in Europe 329 

constantly threatened by the treasonable plots of his 
subjects. A dynasty of puppet kings, restricted to a 
limited territory, displayed amidst every temptation to 
sensual indulgence the idle pomp of sovereignty. A 
race of hardy warriors and statesmen, ignorant of 
letters, experienced in arms, controlled, by the power 
of military enthusiasm and the superior influence of 
diplomatic ability, the destinies of the Frankish nation. 
With the exception of the clergy, whose attainments 
were at the best but superficial, the people were 
plunged into the deepest ignorance. In the regions 
of the North and East the influence of the idolatrous 
Germans and Scandinavians had retarded the progress 
of Christianity. Elsewhere, however, a mongrel re- 
ligion, in which were incorporated the mummeries of 
polytheistic worship, the degrading superstitions and 
sanguinary rites of the Saxons, and the worst features 
of the Arian heresy, prevailed. This debased form 
of faith, which recognized neither the tolerance of 
Paganism nor the charity of the Gospel, satisfied the 
spiritual requirements of a barbarian populace. In 
one province idolatry was practised. In another, the 
principles of Christianity were in the ascendant. Not 
infrequently these forms of worship existed side by 
side; and within the sound of the cathedral bell the 
incense of sacrifice rose from the altars of the Teu- 
tonic deities, or the haruspex exercised his mysterious 
office, and, grovelling in the steaming vitals of the 
newly slaughtered victim, read, in the shape of the 
liver or the folds of the entrails, the signs of the future 
and the unerring decrees of fate. 

Wherever the authority of the Roman Pontiff pre- 
vailed, the inclination to a monastic life predominated 
among all classes of society. Virgins of the wealthiest 
families, warriors of the greatest renown, alike volun- 
tarily sought the retirement of the cloister, amidst the 
congratulations of their relatives and the applause of 

330 History of the 

their companions. When the attractions of the world 
were too powerful to be resisted, the proudest chief- 
tains compromised with conscience either by the dona- 
tion of their serfs to the abodes consecrated to the ser- 
vice of God, or by the ransom and purchase of slaves to 
increase the lordly abbot's imposing retinue. In the 
foundation of religious houses in France there existed 
an emulation unknown to any other country embraced 
in the spiritual domain of the Papacy. The fame and 
piety of the patron of one of these establishments was 
in a direct proportion to the number of recluses whom 
his riches or his influence was able to assemble within 
its walls. As a consequence, no inconsiderable portion 
of the population of France was devoted to a con- 
ventual life, and the number of monks congregated 
in a single monastery was prodigious, in many in- 
stances amounting to as many as eight hundred. The 
generosity and devotion of the founder of a religious 
community were certain to be rewarded with the 
coveted honor of canonization, and records of the 
Gallic Church during the first half of the eighth 
century include the names of more saints than any 
corresponding period in the history of Latin Chris- 
tianity. Liberality to these holy institutions was 
esteemed not only a virtue of supreme excellence 
but a certain proof of orthodoxy, and their vaults 
enclosed treasures whose value was sedulously exag- 
gerated by the vanity of the clergy and the credulity 
of the rabble. The accounts of the enormous wealth 
of these establishments, disseminated far and wide 
through the garrulity of pilgrims and travellers, by 
stimulating the cupidity of the Arabs and inciting 
them to crusade and colonization, produced a decided 
effect upon the political fortunes and social organiza- 
tion of France, and through France indirectly upon 
those of all Europe. 

Rudeness, brutality, coarse licentiousness, affected 

Moorish Empire in Europe 331 

sanctity, and barbaric splendor were the prominent 
characteristics of the society constituted by the nomi- 
nal sovereigns and their courts, the mayors of the 
palace and their retainers, and the lazy ecclesiastics 
who swarmed in every portion of the dominions of 
the Merovingian princes. The will of the most power- 
ful noble was the law of the land. Apprehension of 
intestine warfare and the mutual jealousy and un- 
scrupulous ambition of the feudal lords perpetually 
discouraged the industry of the husbandman. A feel- 
ing of indifference pervaded the ranks of the igno- 
rant populace, stupidly content with the pleasures of a 
mere animal existence. The priesthood, assiduous in 
the exactions of tithes, evinced a marked repugnance 
to contribute pecuniary aid in times of national emer- 
gency when even their own existence was imperilled. 
Unnatural crimes, fratricide, incest, and nameless 
offences against public decency were common. 
Concubinage was universally prevalent among the 
wealthy. In a practice so fatal to the purity of 
domestic life the clergy obtained a disgraceful pre- 
eminence, and in the cloistered seclusion of convents 
and monasteries, those apparent seats of austerity and 
devotion, were enacted with impunity scenes which 
shrank from the publicity of cities and indicated the 
alarming and hopeless extent of ecclesiastical de- 

In the provinces of the South, formerly subject to 
the jurisdiction of the Visigoths, a greater degree of 
intelligence and a more polished intercourse existed, 
the inheritance of the ancient colonists who had be- 
queathed to their posterity the traditions of Roman 
luxury and Grecian culture. Here, upon the shores 
of the Mediterranean and in the valley of the Rhone, 
the gifts of nature were better adapted to progress 
in the arts; the climate was more propitious to the 
intellectual development of the masses. While social 

332 History of the 

equality was yet strictly observed in the assemblies 
of the Teutons and the Franks, the pride of aris- 
tocracy here first asserted its superior claims to con- 
sideration. It was from this region, favored by its 
geographical position, its commercial relations, and 
its sympathy with the philosophical ideas and literary 
aspirations of the inhabitants of Moslem Spain, that 
was to spread the refining influence of chivalry and 
letters afterwards so prominently displayed in the 
courts of the Albigensian princes. 

The unsatisfactory nature of the information 
afforded by the defective chronicles of the eighth 
century is a serious impediment to the satisfactory 
elucidation of events whose paramount importance 
has been recognized by every historian. A lamentable 
want of detail, and an utter absence of philosophical 
discrimination, are the characteristic traits of these 
illiterate annalists. Of the gradual unfolding of 
national character; of the secret motives which actu- 
ated the rude but dexterous statesmen of that epoch; 
of the incessant mutations of public policy; of the 
silent but powerful revolutions effected by the inex- 
orable laws of nature and the failings of humanity, 
they tell us next to nothing. And yet no period men- 
tioned in history has been more prolific of great events. 
No achievement of ancient or modern times was per- 
fected with such rapidity or produced such decided 
effects upon the intellectual progress of the human 
race as the Mohammedan Conquest of Spain. The 
valor of the idolater, Charles Martel, prepared the 
way for the vast empire and boundless authority of 
Charlemagne. The zeal of his orthodox successor 
assured the permanence and supremacy of the Holy 
See. Upon the success or failure of the Moslem 
crusade hung, as in a balance, the political fortunes 
of Europe and the religious destiny of the world. The 
battle of Poitiers was not, as is generally asserted, a 

Moorish Empire in Europe 333 

contest between the champions of two hostile forms 
of faith, for the army of the Franks was largely com- 
posed of Pagans, and the ranks of the invaders were 
filled with Berbers, Jews, and infidels. Moslem 
zealots, like those who had shared the bitter priva- 
tions of the Prophet, who had upheld his falling 
banner at Ohod, who had prevailed over fearful odds 
commanded by the bravest generals of the Roman 
and Persian empires, who had witnessed the capture 
of Damascus and Jerusalem, were rare in that motley 
host of adventurers whose religion was frequently a 
disguise assumed for the ignoble purpose of rapine. 
The fierce ardor and invincible spirit of the original 
Mussulmans had departed. A tithe of the fiery en- 
thusiasm which had evoked the astonishment and 
consternation of their early antagonists must have 
changed the fortunes of that eventful day. 

Upon the other hand, the Franks were not inspired 
with zeal for the maintenance of any religious prin- 
ciple. Their fickle homage was paid to Zernbock and 
Woden, the sanguinary gods of the German forests, 
or to that weird priesthood which delivered its oracles 
from the cromlechs of Brittany. The pressing re- 
quirements of the emergency, the prospect of plunder 
and glory, had summoned the warriors of a hundred 
tribes from the banks of the Danube to the limits of 
Scandinavia. So little were these wild barbarians en- 
titled to the appellation of Christians that they were, 
even then, under the ban of ecclesiastical displeasure, 
and had been loaded with anathemas for the sacri- 
legious use of the property of the Church to avert 
the danger impending over Christendom. But leaving 
out of consideration the motives which actuated the 
combatants, there can be no question as to the decisive 
results of the battle of Poitiers. It was one of the 
few great victories which, like conspicuous landmarks 
in the pathway of human affairs, indicate the advance- 

334 History of the 

ment or the retardation of nations. The prospect of 
Mohammedan conquest had long been the terror of 
Europe. The Pope trembled in the Vatican. The 
pious devotee, as he prostrated himself before the 
image of his patron saint, vowed an additional penance 
to ward off the calamity which every day was expected 
to bring forth. Imagination and fear painted the 
Saracens as a race of incarnate fiends, whose aspect 
was far more frightful, whose atrocities were far more 
ruthless, than those of the Huns who had been routed 
by iEtius four hundred years before on the plains of 
Chalons. The lapse of twelve centuries has not suf- 
ficed to dispel this superstitious dread, and the Saracen, 
as a monster and a bugbear, still figures in the nursery 
tales and rhymes of Central France. 

The Spanish Emirate includes the most obscure 
epoch of Moslem annals. Its events have been, for 
the most part, preserved only by tradition. Its chron- 
icles are chaotic, defective, and contradictory. Its 
dates are confused. It abounds in anachronisms; in 
the confusion of localities; in the multiplication of 
individuals under a variety of names. The credulity 
and prejudice of annalists, few of whom were con- 
temporaneous with the occurrences they profess to de- 
scribe, render their statements suspicious or absolutely 
unworthy of belief. With such drawbacks attainment 
to accuracy is manifestly impracticable, and a reason- 
able degree of probability can alone be hoped for from 
the baffled and perplexed historian. 

Exactly a hundred and ten years had elapsed since 
Mohammed fled from Mecca like a common male- 
factor, under sentence of execution by the leaders of 
his tribe, with a reward of a thousand pieces of gold 
upon his head, and Islam was regarded as the dream 
of a half-demented enthusiast. Now the name of the 
Prophet was revered from the Indies to the Atlantic. 
The new sect numbered its adherents by millions. Its 

Moorish Empire in Europe 335 

arms had invariably been victorious. Its energy had 
surmounted every obstacle. The most venerated 
shrines of Christianity and the cradle of that religion, 
Antioch, Alexandria, Carthage, and Jerusalem, 
places associated with all that is dear to the followers 
of our Saviour, and made sacred by miracle, legend, 
and tradition, were in its hands. Rome and Constan- 
tinople, the remaining great centres of Christian faith 
the one destined to be attacked by the Moslems of 
Sicily, the other now menaced by the Moslems of 
Spain trembled for their safety. Saracen fleets 
were already cruising in the eastern Mediterranean. 
The Mussulman standard had been planted on the 
Loire, thirty-six hundred miles distant from Mecca. 
In every country into which Islam had penetrated, it 
had found faithful allies and adherents. Religious 
indifference, public oppression, the burdens of feud- 
alism, and the evils of slavery paved the way for its 
acceptance. The Jews opened the gates of cities. The 
leaders of depressed factions contributed to the ruin 
of their countrymen with purse and sword. Vassals 
and slaves apostatized by thousands. Most ominous 
of all, the test of spiritual truth and inspiration in- 
variably dependent, in the estimation of the credulous, 
upon superiority in arms, was steadily on the side of 
the infidel. It is not strange, therefore, that Christian 
Europe looked with undisguised dismay upon the por- 
tentous advance of the Mussulman power. It is a 
matter of some doubt whether the doctrines of Mo- 
hammed could have obtained a permanent foothold 
in the frozen regions of the North. The geographical 
distribution of religions is largely determined by 
climate. Islam is essentially exotic. It has survived, 
but never flourished, beyond the tropics. A learned 
historian has advanced the hypothesis that it cannot 
exist in a latitude where the olive does not grow, a 
statement which seems to be justified by the experi- 

336 History of the 

ence of history. It is highly improbable that the 
dogmas and customs of the Orient would have found, 
under a leaden sky and amidst the chilling blasts of 
Holland and Germany, conditions propitious to their 
propagation. Important modifications must have re- 
sulted, and, with these modifications, religious and 
social revolution. The steadiness and prowess of the 
Teutonic soldiery had forever assured the safety of 
Europe from serious molestation by the princes of the 
Hispano-Arab empire. The irregular and ill-con- 
certed attacks, which subsequently followed at long 
intervals, were easily repulsed. Whether the world 
at large was profited by the victory of Charles Martel 
may, in the light afforded by the brilliant results of 
Moslem civilization, well be questioned. It is hardly 
possible to conjecture what effect would have been 
produced upon the creeds and habits of the present 
age by the triumph of the Saracen power, but, in the 
words of an eminent writer, ' ' the least of our evils 
had now been that we should have worn turbans; 
combed our beards instead of shaving them; have 
beheld a more magnificent architecture than the 
Grecian, while the public mind had been bounded by 
the arts and literature of the Moorish University of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 337 




The Northern Provinces of Spain Their Desolate and Forbid- 
ding Character Climate Population Religion 
Peculiarities of the Asturian Peasantry Pelayus His 
Birth and Antecedents He collects an Army Obscure 
Origin of the Spanish Kingdom Extraordinary Conditions 
under which it was founded Battle of Covadonga Rout 
of the Arabs Increase of the Christian Power Favila 
Alfonso I. His Enterprise and Conquests His Policy of 
Colonization Survival of the Spirit of Liberty Religious 
Abuses State of Society Beginning of the Struggle for 

The general topography of the Spanish Peninsula 
exhibits a gradual and continuous increase in altitude, 
beginning at the tropical plains of Andalusia and 
terminating in the mountain range which traverses its 
northern extremity from the eastern boundary of 
France to the Bay of Biscay. This rugged chain of 
mountains, some of whose peaks attain an elevation 
of almost ten thousand feet, throws out innumerable 
spurs to the north and south, which are separated by 
impassable gorges and gloomy ravines, occasionally 
relieved by valleys of limited extent but remarkable 
fertility. Its proximity to the ocean, whose vapors 
are condensed and precipitated by contact with the 
summit of the sierra, renders the climate of this 
region one of exceptional moisture, but its foggy 
atmosphere is not unfavorable either to the health or 
the longevity of man. In certain localities, rains are 
almost incessant, and the depths of many of its defiles 
are never gladdened by the genial and vivifying rays 

Vol. I. 22 

338 History of the 

of the sun. The most untiring industry is requisite 
to procure the means of a meagre subsistence, and the 
laborious efforts of the cultivator of the soil are sup- 
plemented by the vigilance of the shepherd, whose 
fleeces, generally preferred to the coarse products of 
the loom, furnish the male population with clothing. 
Upon the coast entire communities obtain their liveli- 
hood by fishing; and the increased opportunities for 
intercourse with the world have produced noticeable 
modifications in the character of these people, who, 
while deficient in none of the manly qualities of the 
denizens of hill and fastness, seem less uncouth, and 
are possessed of a greater degree of intelligence than 
their brethren of the interior. The customs of these 
famous mountaineers, variously known as Basques, 
Asturians, Cantabrians, and Galicians, according to 
the respective localities they inhabit, have varied but 
little in the course of many centuries. They have ever 
been distinguished by simplicity of manners, sturdy 
honesty, unselfish hospitality, and a spirit of inde- 
pendence which has seldom failed to successfully 
assert itself against the most persistent attempts at 
conquest. A mysterious and unknown origin attaches 
to the Basques, whose strange tongue and weird tradi- 
tions are supposed to connect them with the original 
inhabitants of the Peninsula, and who, in this isolated 
wilderness, have preserved the memory of one of the 
aboriginal races of Europe. The rugged districts 
lying to the westward of what is now called Biscay, 
the home of the Basques, were formerly inhabited by 
the Iberians, a branch of the Celts, which, by force 
of circumstances and through the necessities of self- 
preservation, has become fused with colonists from 
the southern provinces until its distinguishing features 
have disappeared. The well-known bravery of the 
defenders of this bleak and forbidding country, its 
poverty which offers no allurements to either the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 339 

avarice or the vanity of royal power its ravines swept 
by piercing winds, and its mountains draped with 
perpetual clouds, long secured for it freedom from 
invasion. The Carthaginians never passed its borders. 
The Romans, under Augustus, succeeded, after infi- 
nite difficulties, in establishing over its territory a 
precarious authority, disputed at intervals by fierce 
and stubborn insurrections. It yielded a reluctant 
obedience to the Visigothic kings, whose notions of 
liberty, coarse tastes, barbaric customs, and frank 
demeanor were more congenial with the nature of the 
wild Iberian than the luxurious habits and crafty 
maxims of Punic and Latin civilization. 

The most barren and inaccessible part of this 
secluded region at the time of the Moslem conquest 
was that embraced by the modern principality of the 
Asturias. A formidable barrier of lofty peaks, whose 
passes readily eluded the eye of the stranger, blocked 
the way of a hostile army. Within this wall a diver- 
sified landscape of mountain and valley presented it- 
self, with an occasional village, whose huts, clustered 
upon a hill-side or straggling along some narrow 
ravine, indicated the presence of a settlement of 
shepherds or husbandmen. These dwellings, whose 
counterparts are to be seen to-day in the wildest dis- 
tricts of the Asturias and Galicia, were rude hovels 
constructed of stones and unhewn timbers, thatched 
with straw, floored with rushes, and provided with a 
hole in the roof to enable the smoke to escape. Their 
walls and ceilings were smeared with soot and grease, 
and every corner reeked with filth and swarmed with 
vermin. The owners of these habitations were, in ap- 
pearance and intelligence, scarcely removed from the 
condition of savages. They dressed in sheepskins and 
the hides of wild beasts, which, unchanged, remained 
in one family for many generations. The salutary 
habit of ablution was never practised by them. Their 

340 History of the 

garments were never cleansed, and were worn as long 
as their tattered fragments held together. Their food 
was composed of nutritious roots and herbs and of the 
products of the chase, a diet sometimes varied by 
vegetables, whose seeds had been imported from the 
south, and by a coarse bread made from the meal of 
chestnuts and acorns. Total ignorance of the cour- 
tesies and amenities of social life prevailed; privacy 
was unknown ; and the peasant entered the hut of his 
neighbor without fear or ceremony. An independent 
political organization existed in each of these com- 
munities, whose isolated situation, extreme poverty, 
and primitive manners dispensed with the necessity 
for the complicated and expensive machinery of gov- 
ernment. Old age, as among many nations in the in- 
fancy of their existence, was a title to authority and 
respect, and the elevation of an individual to a certain 
degree of power was not unusual when he had distin- 
guished himself among his fellows for skill in hunting 
or valor in warfare. Christian missionaries had, cen- 
turies before, carried the precepts of the Gospel into 
the depths of this wilderness, and chapels and altars, 
where the idolatrous practices of Druidical supersti- 
tion were strangely mingled with the ceremonies of 
the Roman Catholic ritual, attested the persistence of 
a faith which had existed for ages. Many of the 
personal habits and social customs of the Iberians, 
while well deserving the attention of the antiquary, 
were of such a nature as to preclude description. 
Under these manifold disadvantages were now to be 
laid the foundations of an empire destined to embrace 
the richest portions of two great continents ; to extend 
its language, its ideas, its policy, its religion, its au- 
thority, to the extreme limits of a world as yet un- 
known; to humble the pride of the most renowned 
sovereigns of Europe; to perfect the most formid- 
able engine for the suppression of free thought and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 341 

individual liberty which the malignity of superstition 
has ever devised ; to perform achievements and accom- 
plish results unparalleled in the most fantastic crea- 
tions of romance; and to devote to extermination en- 
tire races whose sole offence was that they had never 
heard of the God of their persecutors, a people 
whose civilization was far inferior to their own. 

The terror inspired by the approach of the Saracens, 
after the battle of the Guadalete, had driven great 
masses of fugitives to the north. Such of these as 
escaped the hardships of flight and the swords of 
their pursuers sought refuge in the most secret re- 
cesses of the Asturian mountains. They carried with 
them their portable property, their household gods, all 
the relics of the saints, all the sacred furniture of the 
altars, which they had been able to rescue from the 
sacrilegious grasp of the infidel. The refugees had 
forgotten alike, in the presence of universal misfor- 
tune, the long-cherished prejudices of race and the 
artificial distinctions of rank; and Goth, Roman, 
Iberian, and Basque, master and slave, mingled to- 
gether upon a friendly equality. Received by the 
frank and hospitable mountaineers with a sympathy 
which was strengthened by the bond of a common re- 
ligion, the unhappy fugitives became reconciled to the 
privations of a life which secured to them immunity 
from infidel oppression; and, by intimate association 
and intermarriage with their benefactors, formed in 
time a new nation, in which, however, mixture of 
blood and altered physical surroundings produced 
their inevitable effects, causing the traits of the 
Iberian to predominate, in a conspicuous degree, over 
those of the Latin and the Goth. As the rest of the 
Peninsula submitted to the domination of the Moors, 
the population of this province was largely aug- 
mented. Persecution, arising during the civil wars, 
still further increased immigration ; deposed prelates, 

342 History of the 

ruined artisans, and discontented slaves sought the 
companionship and aid of their fellow-sectaries; 
many, in apprehension of future evil, voluntarily 
abandoned their possessions; and the Asturias be- 
came the common refuge of all who had suffered as 
well as of all who were willing to renounce a life of 
comparative ease and dependence for the toils and 
privations which accompanied the enjoyment of po- 
litical and religious liberty. With the advantages of 
freedom were also blended associations of a more 
sacred character. The greater number of the most 
celebrated shrines of a country remarkable for the 
virtues of its relics and the splendor of its temples 
had been desecrated by the invader. He had de- 
stroyed many churches. Others he had appropriated 
for the uses of his own religion. The piety of their 
ministers had, however, secreted, and borne away in 
safety, the most precious of those tokens of divine 
interposition whose efficacy had been established by 
the performance of countless miracles supported by 
the unquestionable testimony of the Fathers of the 
Church. Transported by reverent hands from every 
part of the kingdom, these consecrated objects were 
now collected in fastnesses impregnable to the enemies 
of Christ. Where, therefore, could the devout believer 
better hope for security and happiness than under the 
protection of holy souvenirs which had received the 
oblations and the prayers of successive generations of 
his ancestors ? The wars and revolutions of more than 
a thousand years have not diminished the feeling of 
popular veneration attaching to these mementos of 
the martyrs, which, enshrined in quaint and costly 
reliquaries of crystal and gold, are still exhibited in 
the Cathedral of Oviedo. 

Engrossed with the cares which necessarily attended 
the establishment of a new religion and the organiza- 
tion of a new government, the first viceroys of Spain 

Moorish Empire in Europe 343 

took no notice of the embryotic state which was grad- 
ually forming in the northwestern corner of the Penin- 
sula. Their scouting parties, which had penetrated to 
the borders of the Asturias, had long since acquainted 
them with the severity of the climate and the general 
sterility of the soil. No booty, save, perhaps, some 
sacred vessels and a few flocks of sheep, was there 
to tempt the avarice of the marauder. Domiciled in 
the genial regions of the South, whose natural advan- 
tages continually recalled the voluptuous countries of 
the Orient, the Moor instinctively shrank from contact 
with the piercing winds and blinding tempests of the 
mountains far more than from an encounter with the 
uncouth and warlike savages who defended this in- 
hospitable land. Musa had already entered Galicia 
at the head of his troops when he was recalled to 
Damascus by the peremptory mandate of the Khalif ; 
and foraging parties had, on different occasions, rav- 
aged many of the settlements of the Basques ; but as 
yet the Moslem banners had never waved along the 
narrow pathways leading into the Asturian solitudes, 
nor had the echoes of the Moorish atabal resounded 
from the stupendous walls which protected the sur- 
viving remnant of the Visigothic monarchy and the 
last hope of Christian faith and Iberian independence. 
At an early period, whose exact date the uncertainty 
of the accounts transmitted to us renders it impossible 
to determine, the settlements of the coast fell into the 
hands of the Saracens, who fortified the town of 
Gijon, a place whose size might not improperly assert 
for it the claims of metropolitan importance. The 
government of this city was entrusted to one of the 
most distinguished officers who had served in the army 
of Tarik, the former Emir, Othman-Ibn-Abu-Nesa, 
who, as we have already seen, having contracted a 
treasonable alliance with the Duke of Aquitaine, had 
been pursued and put to death by the soldiers of Abd- 

344 History of the 

al-Rahman immediately before the latter's invasion 
of France. 

Their communications with the sea-coast having 
been thus interrupted, the Asturians, impatient of 
confinement, determined to secure an outlet by ex- 
tending the limits of their territory upon the southern 
slopes of the mountains. The adventurous spirit of 
the mountaineers welcomed with ardor a proposal 
which must necessarily be attended with every circum- 
stance of excitement and glory. Among the refugees 
who constituted the bulk of the population were many 
who had seen service in the Visigothic army, and some 
who were not unfamiliar with the tactics and military 
evolutions of the Saracens. One of the most eminent 
of these was Pelayus, a name associated with the most 
glorious traditions interwoven with the origin of the 
monarchy of Spain. The imagination of subsequent 
ecclesiastical chroniclers has exhausted itself in at- 
tempts to exalt the character and magnify the exploits 
of this hero. The Moorish authorities, however, while 
they afford but scanty details concerning him, are en- 
titled to far more credit, as their material interests 
were not to be subserved by the fabrication of spurious 
miracles and preposterous legends. From the best 
accounts now attainable, which, it must be confessed, 
are far from reliable, it appears that Pelayus was of 
the mixed race of Goth and Latin. The Arabs in- 
variably called him the " Roman," an appellation they 
were not in the habit of conferring upon such as were 
of the pure blood of the Visigoths. He was of noble 
birth, had held an important command in the army of 
Roderick, and was not less esteemed for bravery and 
experience than for hatred of the infidel, and for the 
reverent humility with which he regarded everything 
connected with the ceremonies and the ministers of the 
Church. To this chieftain, with the unanimous con- 
currence of both refugees and natives, was now en- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 345 

trusted the perilous and doubtful enterprise of openly 
defying the Saracen power. With the caution of a 
veteran, and an enthusiasm worthy of a champion of 
the Faith, Pelayus began to assemble his forces. The 
peasantry, ever alive to the attractions of a military 
expedition, and the fugitives, whose present distress 
recalled the more vividly their former prosperity, their 
pecuniary losses, and their personal bereavements, in- 
cident to the catastrophe which had befallen the na- 
tion, answered the call to arms with equal alacrity. 
The army which placed itself at the disposal of the 
new general did not probably number two thousand 
men. The majority were clad in skins. But few wore 
armor, antiquated suits of mail which had rusted 
under the pacific rule of the successors of Wamba and 
had survived the disasters of Merida and the Guada- 
lete. The Iberian javelin, the sling, and the short and 
heavy knife of the Cantabrian peasant composed their 
offensive weapons. Not one in ten had ever seen a 
battle. Not one in a hundred could understand or 
appreciate the necessity for the uncomplaining pa- 
tience and implicit obedience indispensable to the 
soldier. Yet the soaring ambition, the patriotic pride, 
the belief in the special protection of heaven feel- 
ings equal to the conquest of a world rose high in 
the bosoms of these savage mountaineers. Their 
courage was unquestionable. Their native endurance, 
strengthened by simple food and habitual exposure to 
the tempests of a severe climate and the incessant 
exertions of a pastoral life, was far greater than that 
of their enemies. To invest the cause with a religious 
character, and to rouse to the highest pitch the fanati- 
cism of the soldiery, a number of priests attended, with 
censer and crucifix and all the sacred emblems of eccle- 
siastical dignity. Of such materials was composed the 
army whose posterity was led to victory by such cap- 
tains as Gonzalvo, Cortes, and Alva, and whose penni- 

346 History of the 

less and exiled commander was destined to be the pro- 
genitor of a long line of illustrious sovereigns. 

The original realm of Pelayus afforded no indica- 
tion of the enormous dimensions to which it was des- 
tined to expand. It embraced a territory five miles 
long by three miles wide. Its population could not 
have exceeded fifteen hundred souls. Its fighting 
men were not more than five hundred in number. The 
bulk of the army was composed of Basques and 
Galicians, attracted by the hope of spoil, held together 
for the moment only by the sense of common danger ; 
impatient of restraint; scarcely recognizing the au- 
thority of popular assemblies of their own creation; 
valiant in action; brutal in victory; selfish and cow- 
ardly in defeat. They were without organization, 
officers, suitable arms, or commissariat. Of the art 
of war, as practised by even semi-barbarians, they 
knew nothing. Their military operations were con- 
trolled by the usual stratagems of savages, the noc- 
turnal attack, the sudden surprise, the ambuscade. 

The civil system of the infant monarchy was no 
further advanced. The exiled subjects of Roderick 
still retained, in some measure, the maxims and tradi- 
tions of government. The people, among whom their 
lot was cast and who greatly outnumbered them, had, 
however, little knowledge of, and no reverence for, 
the Visigothic Code. The duchy of Cantabria, to 
which the latter mainly belonged, was never more than 
a nominal fief of the kingdom of Toledo. The f ueros, 
or laws, by which they had been governed through 
successive foreign dominations of the Peninsula were 
of immemorial antiquity. Their long-preserved in- 
dependence had nourished in their minds sentiments 
of arrogance and assumed superiority which were 
often carried to a ridiculous extreme. These influ- 
ences had no small share in the subsequent formation 
of the Spanish constitution. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 347 

Thus, in a desolate and barren region ; insignificant 
in numbers; destitute of resources; ignorant of the 
arts of civilization; without military system or civil 
polity ; with neither court, hierarchy, nor capital ; ani- 
mated by the incentives of religious zeal and inherited 
love of freedom, a handful of barbarians laid the 
foundations of the renowned empire of Spain and the 

The bustle which necessarily attended the warlike 
preparations of Pelayus was not long in attracting 
the attention of the government of Cordova. Infor- 
mation was conveyed to Anbasah-Ibn-Sohim, the rep- 
resentative of the Khali f, concerning the league that 
had been formed between the fugitive Goths and the 
denizens of the Asturias, as well as of the objects of 
the expedition which was organizing in the northern 
wilderness. The Emir, whose contempt for his ene- 
mies, added to a profound ignorance of the character 
of the country they inhabited, induced him to underes- 
timate the difficulties to be encountered in their subjec- 
tion, did not deem it worth his while to attack them in 
person. He naturally thought little was to be appre- 
hended from the irregular hostilities of a few refugees 
who had retired with precipitation at the approach of 
the Moorish cavalry, united with a horde of vagabond 
shepherds and hunters unaccustomed to discipline and 
inexperienced in warfare. In his blind depreciation 
of the prowess of his adversaries, Anbasah-Ibn-Sohim 
left out of consideration many circumstances which 
influenced, in a marked degree, the subsequent for- 
tunes of the Moslem domination in Spain. Their nu- 
merical inferiority was of trifling moment in a country 
thoroughly familiar to its inhabitants, but hitherto un- 
explored by the Saracens, and whose steep and tortu- 
ous pathways afforded such facilities for resisting an 
intruder that points might readily be selected where 
a score of men could, with little effort, successfully 

348 History of the 

withstand a thousand. The Emir took no account of 
the mists which always enshrouding the sierra often 
entirely obscured the landscape; of the dense forests 
which might so effectually conceal the ambuscade ; of 
the sudden and destructive rise of the mountain tor- 
rents; of the dangers attendant upon the landslide 
and the avalanche. Nor did he appreciate the feelings 
which must have been inspired by the desperate situa- 
tion in which the Christians were placed. They were 
at bay in their last stronghold. Once driven from the 
shelter of their friendly mountains nothing remained 
for them but death or slavery. Their retreat into 
France was cut off by the Arab column now ad- 
vancing into Septimania. Their brethren throughout 
the Peninsula had bowed before the sceptre of the 
Khalif, and no assistance could be expected from 
them. Their patriotic ardor was excited by the proud 
consciousness of independence and by apprehensions 
of the degradation of servitude; their pious frenzy 
was aroused by the destruction which menaced the 
religion of their fathers. In their camp were the sole 
memorials of a monarchy whose princes had dictated 
terms to the Mistress of the World. Around them on 
every side were sacred relics which had been visited 
from far and wide by pilgrims, whose miraculous 
power in the healing of disease it was sacrilege to 
doubt, and which had not only brought relief to the 
suffering but also comfort and salvation in the hour 
of death. God had made them the custodians of these 
treasures rescued from His desecrated altars ; truly He 
would not abandon them in time of peril. By every 
artifice peculiar to their craft; by all the fervid ap- 
peals of eloquence; by every promise of present and 
prospective advantage ; and by every threat of future 
retribution, the prelates inflamed the zeal of their 
fanatical hearers. They, more than any other class, 
understood the gravity of the situation. While not 

Moorish Empire in Europe 349 

anticipating the power which the sacerdotal order was 
to attain over the temporal affairs of the Peninsula 
in coming 1 centuries, they were not ignorant that the 
result of the impending conflict involved its suprem- 
acy or their own annihilation. Thus, at the very birth 
of the Spanish monarchy, appears predominant the 
ecclesiastical power which contributed more than all 
other causes to its eventual decay. Taking these facts 
into consideration, it is evident that the conquest of 
the Asturias would have required an ample force con- 
ducted by an experienced commander, whose talents, 
however respectable, could hardly have accomplished 
the task in a single campaign. But the Emir, who was 
on the point of invading France and did not deign to 
delay his expedition for the purpose of chastising a 
band of vagrant barbarians, detached a division, under 
an officer named Alkamah, to reduce the Asturias to 
subjection and exact the payment of tribute. 

The Arab general, aside from the natural impedi- 
ments which obstructed the march of an army through 
one of the most rugged localities of Europe, experi- 
enced but little trouble in his advance. The scattered 
collections of hovels which he encountered were de- 
serted. No flocks were feeding on the hill-sides. All 
signs of cultivation were obliterated, and everything 
which could afford subsistence to an enemy had been 
removed or destroyed. The features of the entire 
landscape were those of a primeval waste. Through 
the defiles, without resistance, and almost without the 
sight of a human being except his own soldiers, Al- 
kamah penetrated to the very heart of the Asturias, 
lured on by the wily mountaineers to a point where 
his superior numbers, so far from availing him, would 
be a positive disadvantage, and from whence retreat 
would be impossible. 

Upon the eastern border of the wilderness, amidst 
a chaos of rocks, forests, ravines, and streamlets, rises 

350 History of the 

the imposing peak of Auseba. The northern side of 
this mountain for a hundred feet from its base pre- 
sents a steep and frowning precipice closing one end 
of a narrow valley, and whose almost perpendicular 
sides are only accessible to the trained and venture- 
some native. A cave, in whose depths three hundred 
men could readily be sheltered, exists in the face of the 
cliff, and through the gorge beneath run the troubled 
waters forming the source of the river Deva. A path, 
completely commanded by the heights upon either side, 
winds through the undergrowth and gives access to 
the cave and its environs, in former times the resort of 
benighted goatherds. In this spot, admirably adapted 
to purposes of defence, Pelayus determined to make 
his final stand. All non-combatants were secreted in 
the forest. Ambushes were posted along the only 
path by which an approach was practicable. In the 
cavern, whose name, Covadonga, is still revered by 
every Asturian noble and peasant, Pelayus concealed 
himself with a body of men selected for their courage 
and the superiority of their arms. Skirmishers now 
appeared in the front of the Moslem army, which, with 
a confidence born of former success, without hesita- 
tion followed its treacherous guides into the fatal 
valley. No sooner was the command of Alkamah 
within arrow-shot of the cave than the mountaineers 
sprang from their hiding-places. Wild cries of de- 
fiance and expectant triumph echoed from the rocky 
slopes of the ravine. From every hand the projectiles 
of the Christians poured down upon the heads of their 
astonished foes. When the ammunition of the bows 
and slings was exhausted, the sturdy peasants rolled 
down great stones and trunks of trees, which crushed 
a score of men at a single blow. Massed together, and 
thrown into confusion by the unexpected attack, the 
Saracens could not use their weapons to advantage. 
Their arrows rebounded harmlessly from the rocks. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 351 

The agility of their enemies and the character of the 
ground prevented a hand-to-hand engagement, which 
the inferior strength of the Christians naturally 
prompted them to avoid. Unable to endure the storm 
of missiles which was rapidly depleting their ranks, 
the Saracens attempted to retrace their steps. The 
first intimation of a desire to retreat was the signal for 
redoubled activity on the part of the Asturians. Pe- 
layus and his band, issuing from the cave, fell upon 
the rear of the enemy. The detachments upon the 
flanks closed in, and the unfortunate Moslems, sur- 
rounded and almost helpless, resigned themselves to 
their fate. The battle became a massacre. To add 
to the discomfiture of the invaders, a fearful tempest, 
which, in a latitude whose air is always charged with 
moisture, often comes without warning, burst upon 
the valley. In a few moments the little brook had 
swollen into a roaring torrent. A section of the 
mountain-side, undermined and already tottering 
and crowded with terror-stricken Saracens, gave 
way, carrying with it hundreds of victims to be 
engulfed in the rushing waters. A trifling number 
of fugitives, aided by the darkness and the storm, 
succeeded in eluding the vigilance of the mountaineers, 
but the great majority of those composing the detach- 
ment, including all of its officers, perished. The esti- 
mated loss of the Moslems varies, according to the 
nationality of the annalist, from three thousand to 
one hundred and twenty-four thousand. In this, as 
in all' other instances where the statements of the Arab 
and Christian writers of that age conflict, the prefer- 
ence should be given to the assertions of the former. 
The valley of Covadonga is so restricted in extent, 
especially where the battle took place, that it would 
with difficulty afford standing room for twenty thou- 
sand combatants. The vainglorious character of the 
northern Spaniard, who possesses not a little of the 

352 History of the 

braggadocio of his cousin, the Gascon, has incited him 
to grossly magnify the importance of an exploit which 
requires no exaggeration; and his fabulous accounts 
have been recorded, with extravagant additions, by the 
ecclesiastical historians of the Dark Ages, with whom 
mendacity was the rule and accuracy the exception. 
Absolutely controlled by the prejudices of their pro- 
fession, they studiously embellished every tale which 
could have a tendency to promote its interests and as 
carefully suppressed all hostile testimony. The monk- 
ish writers, whose credulity kept pace with their love 
of the marvellous, conceived that the glory of the 
Church was in a direct ratio to the number of infidels 
exterminated by her champions. To this motive are 
to be attributed the absurd statements concerning the 
losses of the enemy in every victory won by the Chris- 
tian arms, a pernicious habit which was confirmed by 
the improbability of subsequent detection arising from 
the universal illiteracy of the age. The thorough un- 
reliability of these old chroniclers in this and other 
particulars which might directly or indirectly affect 
the prestige of their order is calculated to cast sus- 
picion over their entire narratives. When we add to 
these gross misrepresentations their meagre and con- 
fused accounts of the most important events, their 
profound ignorance of the hidden motives of human 
actions, their superstitious prejudices, and their in- 
capacity of appreciating, or even of understanding, 
the principles of historical criticism, it may readily be 
perceived how arduous is the task of those who attempt 
to bring order out of this literary chaos. To the Arab, 
writers, however, we can turn with a much greater 
degree of confidence. They make no attempts to dis- 
guise the magnitude of their reverses or to diminish 
the glory of their enemies. No contemporaneous ac- 
count of the battle of Covadonga has descended to 
us. It was not for a century that its paramount im- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 353 

portance became manifest. The attention of the 
clergy during that turbulent period was engrossed 
by the doubtful fortunes of the Church, and the ex- 
actions consequent upon the changes produced by a 
constant succession of rulers. The affairs of the 
entire Mohammedan empire were in a turmoil. In the 
East the chiefs of desperate factions were struggling 
for the throne of the khalif ate. Africa was the scene 
of perpetual insurrection, provoked and maintained 
by the indomitable spirit of the Berbers. The Emirs 
of Spain, between the intervals of civil discord, were 
nursing extravagant dreams of ambition, visions of 
the propagation of their faith, of the acquisition 
of new territories, of the subjugation of infidels, of 
the extension of empire. The glance of the viceroys 
was directed beyond the bleak Asturias towards the 
fertile plains of Southern France. The execution of 
the gigantic enterprise projected by the genius of 
Musa occupied their thoughts, and they were ignorant 
or careless of the aspirations of a handful of peasants, 
upon the issue of whose prowess and constancy were, 
even now, impending the existence of their dominion 
and the destinies of the Peninsula. 

The meagre notices of the battle of Covadonga 
transmitted by Moorish chroniclers indicate that it 
was not considered a great disaster, and that its 
effects upon the posterity of both Christian and 
Moslem could not have been dreamed of. Yet from 
this eventful day practically dates the beginning of 
the overthrow of the Arab domination, not yet firmly 
established in its seat of power. Then was inaugu- 
rated the consolidation of mountain tribes, soon to be 
followed by the union of great provinces and king- 
doms under the protection of the Spanish Crown. At 
that time was first thoroughly demonstrated the value 
of harmonious co-operation among factions long ar- 
rayed against each other in mutual hostility. Thence 

Vol. I. 23 

354 History of the 

was derived the germ of freedom, which successfully 
asserted its rights under the frown of royalty, and, 
incorporated into the constitution of Aragon, long 
interposed a formidable obstacle to the encroachments 
of arbitrary and despotic sovereigns. During that 
epoch, by the fusion of races, were laid the founda- 
tions of that noble and sonorous idiom, unsurpassed in 
simplicity of construction, in conciseness and elegance 
of diction, in clear and harmonious resonance. Then 
was manifested for the first time the adventurous 
and daring spirit which carried the banners of Spain 
beyond the Mississippi, the Andes, and the Pacific. 
Then was instituted the scheme of ecclesiastical policy 
which, perfected by a succession of able and aspiring 
churchmen, placed the throne of Europe's greatest 
monarchy under the tutelage of the primacy of 
Toledo. Then originated that fierce and interminable 
contest first for self-preservation, then for plunder, 
lastly for empire which for a thousand years en- 
grossed the attention of the world. 

The renown acquired by Pelayus through the vic- 
tory of Covadonga raised him at once from the posi- 
tion of general to the dignity of king. In his election 
the traditions of the ancient Gothic constitution were 
observed. The sentiments of freedom innate in the 
mountaineer of every land are reluctant to admit the 
superiority implied by the laws of hereditary descent 
or by the exercise of unlimited authority. The rude 
ceremonies by which regal prerogatives were conceded 
to this guerilla chieftain could not suggest to the 
wildest visionary the possibility of the gorgeous cere- 
monial of the Spanish court or of the absolute power 
exercised by Charles the Fifth and Philip the Second. 
It is not improbable that the commands of Pelayus 
were frequently disputed by his half -savage retainers. 
But it may well be doubted if among all the nations 
which composed the vast dominions of the House of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 355 

Austria could have been found an equal number of 
adherents more faithful in misfortune, more intrepid 
in danger, than those who formed the little band of 
the exiled hero. The immunity granted the Christians 
after their triumph would seem to rather imply con- 
tempt by the princes of Cordova than their discour- 
agement or any apprehension of further misfortune. 
The moral effect of the victory, if imperceptible on 
the Arabs, produced at once most significant results 
in the regions bordering on the Asturias. The threat- 
ening attitude of the fishermen necessitated the evacu- 
ation of the coast, and Othman-Ibn-Abu-Nesa, Gov- 
ernor of Gijon, abandoned his charge, and, by a forced 
march, joined his countrymen beyond the mountains. 
The warlike spirit spread fast through Cantabria and 
Galicia, and was even felt upon the borders of what 
is now Leon and Castile; the Saracen colonists who 
had established themselves in the most fertile districts 
were exterminated; and the religious aspect of the 
struggle, which seemed to identify the cause of the 
insurgents with that of the Almighty, crowded the 
squalid hovels of the hospitable Asturians with thou- 
sands of fugitives who sought protection and liberty 
in the society of their friends and kinsmen. 

Neither history nor tradition has ascribed to Pe- 
layus any other military achievements than the famous 
one which signalized his accession to supreme power. 
In the retirement of his little kingdom, for the re- 
mainder of his days, he employed the security, for 
which he was indebted to the contempt of his enemies, 
in consolidating his authority; in the formation of a 
plan of government; in the erection of churches, 
shrines, and monasteries; and in encouraging among 
his subjects the pursuit of agriculture. His extreme 
devotion to the interests of the Church has obtained 
for his memory the grateful acknowledgment of the 
priesthood ; while the little cross borne by him, in lieu 

356 History of the 

of a standard, at Covadonga, and still preserved at 
Oviedo, is regarded with sentiments of peculiar rever- 
ence by the peasantry as a symbol whose miraculous 
powers were confirmed by the hand of God, and whose 
virtues were transmitted to the magnificent emblems 
of the Catholic hierarchy, which, the successors of the 
Roman eagles, sanctified in distant lands the explora- 
tions and the conquests of the Christian monarchs of 
the Peninsula. 

The reign of Pelayus lasted thirteen years. Such 
were the benefits resulting from its munificence to the 
clergy and his justice to the people that, at his death, 
the sentiments of loyalty and gratitude overcame the 
traditions of centuries and the prejudice against he- 
reditary descent, and Favila, his son, was permitted 
to succeed him by the tacitly admitted right of in- 

Little is known of the life of Favila excepting that 
it was passed in peace. Without aspirations to en- 
large the circuit of his dominions, and destitute of all 
desire for military renown, he preferred the rude 
society of his companions and the excitements of the 
chase to the perilous and doubtful honors of warfare. 
Two years after his accession he was torn to pieces by 
a wild boar, whose fury he had rashly provoked under 
circumstances which admitted of no escape. He was 
buried by the side of his father in the church of Can- 
gas de Onis, an insignificant hamlet not far from the 
battle-field of Covadonga, which was already dignified 
by the title of capital of the Asturias, and whose 
church was for many generations afterwards the 
pantheon of its princes. 

Favila left no sons of sufficient age to assume the 
responsibilities of government, while the exigencies of 
the time demanded the services of a ruler possessed of 
talents and experience. The right of election was, as 
of old, once more asserted to the exclusion of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 357 

claims of primogeniture; and Alfonso I., son of the 
Duke of Cantabria and son-in-law of Pelayus, was, 
by common consent of the principal men of the in- 
fant nation, invested with the regal authority. The 
new king was a noted warrior, who had been the com- 
rade-in-arms of Pelayus. His martial tastes and un- 
flinching resolution were only surpassed by his zeal for 
the Christian faith, which acquired for him the appel- 
lation of " Catholic," so highly prized by his descend- 
ants, and which is still the most revered title of the 
head of the Spanish monarchy. The duchy of Can- 
tabria, whose ancient limits had, however, been greatly 
curtailed by the encroachments of the Moors and the 
annexations of Pelayus, became, through the exalta- 
tion of its lord, an integral part of the Asturian king- 

The unquenchable fires of crusade and conquest 
burned fiercely in the breast of Alfonso. With all the 
impetuosity of his nature he announced his intention 
of waging ceaseless war against the infidel. The con- 
dition of the provinces subject to his jurisdiction had 
undergone radical changes since the election of Pe- 
layus twenty years before. The population had enor- 
mously increased, partly from natural causes, but 
principally through immigration promoted by the 
love of liberty and by the destructive revolutions 
instigated by the vengeance or ambition of the con- 
querors. Villages, whose rude but comparatively com- 
fortable dwellings replaced the filthy cabins of former 
times, occupied the picturesque valleys. Chapels and 
monasteries dotted the mountain-sides. Public affairs 
were administered according to a system, crude indeed, 
but framed upon the model of the Visigothic consti- 
tution, whose principles were not inconsistent with 
both the assertion of the prerogatives of royalty and 
the enjoyment, in large measure, of the blessings of 
individual freedom. The kingly authority was, in 

358 History of the 

fact, as yet merely nominal. It had been conferred 
by the votes of the people, and was understood to be 
conditional upon the observance of the laws and the 
maintenance of order. The power of the Asturian 
sovereign was at this time not greater than that of 
many a petty feudal chieftain of Germany, and was 
far inferior to that possessed by the French Mayors 
of the Palace. 

The occasion was propitious to the realization of 
the ambitious designs of Alfonso. The emirate was 
temporarily vacant through the absence of Okbah, its 
head, in Africa. Anarchy, with all its nameless hor- 
rors, prevailed in every portion of the Peninsula. The 
territory acquired in France, whose occupation had 
shed so much lustre on the Moslems and whose pos- 
session was designed as the preliminary step to the 
subjugation of Europe, had, through the valor of the 
Franks and the incapacity and jealousies of the emirs, 
with the solitary exception of the city of Narbonne, 
been wrested from the conqueror. The prestige of 
the heretofore invincible Saracens had been lost by 
repeated reverses, crowned by the terrible misfortune 
of Poitiers. In Galicia and the Basque provinces the 
peasantry had delivered the greater portion of their 
country from the enemy and were in full sympathy 
with the plans and aspirations of their Asturian neigh- 
bors, although they resolutely kept aloof from politi- 
cal union with them and declined to acknowledge the 
authority of their king. The operations of Alfonso 
were characterized by the activity and judgment of 
an experienced partisan. Passing suddenly into Ga- 
licia he surprised Lugo, which had remained in the 
hands of the Arabs since its capture by Musa, and 
soon afterwards occupied the strongly fortified city of 
Tuy, appropriating the territory north of the river 
Minho by the right of conquest. Thence he pene- 
trated into Lusitania, taking some of the principal 

Moorish Empire in Europe 359 

towns of that province and extending his march to the 
eastward until he had overrun all of the region lying 
to the north of the range of mountains now known as 
the Sierra Guadarrama. 

The annalists who have mentioned the expeditions 
undertaken by Alfonso I. have neglected to regulate 
their order of occurrence, and attribute to the move- 
ments of the King a celerity which is almost incredible. 
In fact, these much-vaunted conquests were nothing 
more than mere forays. No permanent occupation of 
the country was possible. The uninterrupted succes- 
sion of calamities which had descended upon it had 
transformed a region, never renowned for great pro- 
ductiveness, into a desert. In the few fertile spots 
where the industry of the Moor had obtained a foot- 
hold the fierce squadrons of Alfonso blackened the 
smiling landscape with the fires of destruction and 
carnage. Such towns and villages as lay in their path 
were destroyed; the Moors were condemned to 
slavery; and the Christians, despite their remon- 
strances, were compelled to follow in the train of 
the invader, to accept from him homes in the moun- 
tains, and to swear fidelity to the Crown. This policy 
of increasing the population of his dominions by com- 
pulsory immigration possessed at least the merit of 
originality, and was in the end eminently successful. 
The reluctant colonists, whose cities had been razed 
and whose lands had been devastated, were deprived of 
all incentives to return to a region that could no longer 
afford them subsistence. The ties of race and the 
precepts of religion already united them to those 
whom, despite the violence they had displayed, they 
could not consider as enemies. Distributed judi- 
ciously in the districts most deficient in inhabitants, 
whose soil, in many instances, was not more sterile 
than that which they had formerly tilled, the new 
subjects of Alfonso soon became reconciled to their 

360 History of the 

altered condition of life. Their numbers greatly con- 
tributed to the strength of the growing kingdom. 
Their traditions, prejudices, and aspirations were 
identical with those of the Asturians. Complete amal- 
gamation was soon accomplished by intermarriage and 
by the intimacies of commercial and social intercourse. 

The operations of Alfonso are, for the most part, 
described with even more confusion of dates and 
localities than that which ordinarily characterizes the 
historical accounts of his age. Both the love of the 
marvellous and the bias of superstition have combined 
to magnify his achievements. Nevertheless, the ac- 
count of no great victory breaks the monotony of an 
endless recital of murder, pillage, and conflagration. 
In the mountains, where every ravine favored an am- 
buscade, the Christians were invincible, but upon the 
plain, even when aided by the advantage of superior 
numbers, they were no match for the Moorish cavalry. 
The vulnerable condition of the country, which suf- 
fered from the inroads of the Asturian prince, im- 
pressed him with the necessity of erecting suitable 
defensive works along the borders of his own do- 
minions. He therefore established a line of castles 
upon the southern slope of the sierra, dividing the 
present provinces of Old and New Castile, which were 
then known under the common designation of Bar- 
dulia, and from these fortified posts the two famous 
provinces have derived their modern name. 

The reign of Alfonso does not seem to have known 
the blessings of tranquillity. His expeditions were 
incessant, and their results almost invariably success- 
ful. The Moors universally regarded him with a fear 
which, far more than the profuse adulation of his 
monkish biographers, confirms the prevailing idea of 
his prowess and indicates the respect in which he was 
held by his enemies, whose historians conferred upon 
him the honorable and significant appellation of Ibn- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 361 

al-Saif, " The Son of the Sword." At the time of 
his death he had extended the limits of his kingdom 
until it embraced nearly a fourth part of the entire 
Peninsula, reaching from upper Aragon to the At- 
lantic, and from the Sierra Guadarrama to the Bay 
of Biscay. Far to the south of the territory which 
acknowledged his jurisdiction, a vast region had been 
swept by his inroads, and remained depopulated 
through the very terror of his name. While his re- 
sources did not enable him to retain possession of this 
neutral ground, its accessibility to attack rendered it 
useless to the Saracens. His death, in 756, was coin- 
cident with the accession to power of the renowned 
House of Ommeyah, whose genius held in check for 
half a century the patriotic impulses of the state 
which public disorder and universal contempt had per- 
mitted to form under the eye of the haughty emirs, 
an error of policy whose fatal consequences were not 
even suspected until the evil was beyond all remedy. 

Thus, within a few years, from an affrighted band 
of homeless fugitives had arisen a nation whose power 
had already become formidable. In the independent 
spirit of its assemblies, convoked to elect a sovereign, 
were plainly discernible traces of that constitutional 
liberty which subsequently acquired such importance 
and produced such enduring political effects in the 
history of Spain. The basis of the new ecclesiastical 
system, on the other hand, consisted in a servile obedi- 
ence to Rome, and was marked by none of the con- 
scious dignity and self-reliance peculiar to the ancient 
Visigothic priesthood. A series of misfortunes had 
broken the pride of the Church ; in the desecration of 
its relics, in the plunder of its altars, in the confisca- 
tion of its treasures, in the insults to its prelates, the 
multitude saw the fearful vengeance of an offended 
God. The wealth of the ecclesiastical order had dis- 
appeared, and with it much of its power. Its congre- 

362 History of the 

gations were scattered. Whenever the poverty of the 
devout was so great that the regular tribute could not 
be raised all worship was proscribed. In those locali- 
ties where the indulgence of the conqueror permitted 
the Christian rites, there was small inducement to 
proselytism, as no new churches could be erected, and 
the conversion of a Mohammedan was a capital crime, 
of which both tempter and apostate were equally 
guilty. In the face of the overwhelming catastrophe 
which had overtaken the Church, it is but natural that 
the eyes of its ministers should be turned towards the 
throne of the Holy Father, whose admonitions they 
had unheeded and whose commands they had defied. 
In a crowd of ignorant and superstitious peasants the 
prestige attaching to ancient ecclesiastical dignity and 
the reverence exacted by its sacred office soon raised 
the clergy to an unusual degree of prominence. It 
was their influence which actually founded the infant 
state; which dictated its policy; which directed its 
career ; which profited by its success ; which tendered 
sympathy in the hour of adversity; which shared its 
glory in the hour of triumph. And, as in the begin- 
ning it was predominant, so through the long course 
of ages its grasp never slackened, and to its sug- 
gestions, sometimes prompted by wisdom, but often 
darkened by bigotry, are to be attributed the measures 
emanating from both the civil and ecclesiastical polity 
of the dynasties of Spain. 

The mingling of various nationalities in the As- 
turias produced its inevitable ethnical result, the evo- 
lution of a race superior to each of its constituents. 
But with physical improvement and mental culture 
came many deplorable evils, merciless hatred, supersti- 
tious credulity, military insubordination, and the vices 
of a society indulgent to the maxims and practice of 
a lax morality. The remorseless butchery of infidels 
was encouraged as highly meritorious, and only a 

Moorish Empire in Europe 363 

proper return for the calamities produced by invasion. 
The ferocious soldiery, whose license during the con- 
tinuance of hostilities was never restrained by their 
commanders, were, as might be expected, not amen- 
able to discipline or obedient to the necessary regu- 
lations of their profession in time of peace. The 
orders of the King were sometimes openly disobeyed ; 
and such was the precarious nature of his authority 
that he not infrequently considered it more expedient 
to dissemble than to punish. The licentious habits of 
the Visigothic prelates and nobles had been carried, 
along with the traditions of their ancient grandeur 
and the mementos of their former wealth, into the 
rude, but hitherto comparatively pure, society of the 
mountains. The severity of the climate, the incessant 
and violent exercise demanded by their avocations, and 
the uncertainty of subsistence had preserved the chas- 
tity of the Asturian peasantry, who, in many other 
respects, were remarkable for degradation and bru- 
tality. Polygamous unions, practised with more or 
less concealment by the privileged classes during the 
reign of Pelayus, upon the accession of Alfonso be- 
came open and notorious. The innumerable captives 
secured by marauding expeditions afforded excellent 
facilities for supplying or replenishing the harems of 
the nobles and the clergy. The holy fathers, like their 
predecessors under Witiza and Roderick, were noted 
for their taste and appreciation of the charms of 
female loveliness; and the owner of a beautiful slave 
whose price was too high for the count was rarely 
dismissed, for this cause, by the bishop. A well- 
appointed seraglio was an indispensable appendage 
to the household of every secular and ecclesiastical 
dignitary. The example of their ancestors, and the 
temptations offered by the fascinations of the beau- 
tiful Moorish captives, were too powerful to be with- 
stood. To the allurements of passion was also added 

364 History of the 

the gratification resulting from the consciousness of 
inflicted and well-deserved retribution. The fairest 
of the Gothic and Roman maidens had been torn from 
weeping parents to fill the harems of Cordova, Cairo, 
and Damascus. Alfonso I., whose title, The Catholic, 
has been confirmed by the profuse and fulsome eu- 
logies of the Church, was behind none of his ghostly 
counsellors in his polygamous inclinations; and the 
offspring of a connection with an infidel concubine, 
who received the name of Mauregato, was destined to 
play an important part in the annals of the Recon- 
quest. In every form and manifestation of social life 
the influence of the surviving elements of the Visi- 
gothic monarchy produced important and permanent 
results. To anarchy succeeded political organization, 
imperfect it is true, but the wisdom of whose prin- 
ciples was repeatedly confirmed by their adaptability 
to the requirements of an extensive empire. The 
physical condition of the people was improved, and 
their strength, hitherto employed against each other, 
was now directed to the injury of a common enemy. 
With new aspirations and altered manners were in- 
troduced changes in the Asturian dialect, which was 
originally derived from the Euskarian, the idiom of 
the Basques. The intercourse of the various classes 
of society grew more refined. Law gradually sup- 
planted government by force. Religion again exerted 
its beneficent and powerful sway. The ceremonial 
of the Visigothic court a mixture of barbarian inso- 
lence, Roman dignity, and Byzantine pomp was re- 
vived, and a faint image of ancient greatness was 
exhibited by the pride and prowess of representatives 
of noble families who, mindful of former ascendency 
and confident of future distinction, gallantly rallied 
round the throne. 

The spirit of hero-worship, as may readily be in- 
ferred from the superstitious credulity of the moun- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 365 

taineers, was strong in the Asturias. Every action of 
the early princes is distorted by the atmosphere of 
mystery and exaggeration which envelops it. The 
idea pervading classic mythology that those whom 
tradition declares to have been the benefactors of 
mankind, who have contributed to civilization the 
greatest practical benefits, and from whose efforts 
have been derived the true enjoyments of life, are en- 
titled, if not to absolute apotheosis, at least to exalta- 
tion as demigods, perverted by sacerdotal influence, 
had been bequeathed, with other Pagan beliefs and 
practices, by the priests of Hercules and iEsculapius 
to the servants of the Pope. When canonization was 
deemed impolitic, the life of an eminent personage 
was embellished with a mass of fiction, of prodigy, of 
fable. Some historians have not mentioned the name 
of Pelayus; others, on account of the untrustworthy 
character of the authorities, have assigned all the ex- 
ploits of his reign to the domain of the mythical. A 
miraculous appearance of the Virgin in the cave of 
Covadonga inspired the Christians with hope, and an- 
nounced the coming victory. A choir of angels, whose 
voices were distinctly heard by the attendants, soothed 
the dying moments of Alfonso. Such legends, in- 
vented by priestly artifice and propagated by uni- 
versal approbation in an age of ignorance, have no 
small influence in developing the character of a nation. 
Thus, in a secluded corner of the Peninsula, neg- 
lected by their friends and despised by their enemies, 
the founders of an empire whose states and princi- 
palities were to be lighted by the rising as well as 
by the setting sun erected in obscurity and distress 
the humble fabric of their political fortunes. The 
almost hopeless prospect of the struggle at its incep- 
tion nerved them to despair. Aided by the obstacles 
interposed by nature for their defence, encouraged 
by the suicidal conflicts which constantly harassed the 

366 History of the 

emirate, and inspired with an unshaken confidence 
in the protection of heaven, an insignificant band of 
exiles, in the short space of a quarter of a century, 
insensibly expanded into a people whose existence, 
hitherto ignored, began, when too late, to arouse the 
serious apprehensions of the court of Cordova. The 
Asturian element, as jealous of liberty as the Basques 
but far less intolerant, infused into the public delib- 
erations those principles of freedom subsequently so 
prominent in the laws of the northern provinces ; and 
even now, after centuries of despotism, not entirely 
eradicated from the Spanish constitution. It is one 
of the strangest of political phenomena that from 
such a source should have proceeded institutions that 
made the Inquisition possible. The imperceptible but 
lasting influence of the Asturians did not pass away 
with the prestige of the great princes of the Houses 
of Austria and Bourbon. The religion of the national 
hierarchy, organized within its borders and promul- 
gated by its armies, still affords consolation to the 
devout of many lands, and the musical language, 
formed by a fusion of barbarous dialects, is the idiom 
of one-sixth of the geographical area of the habitable 

Moorish Empire in Europe 367 




The Ommeyade Family Its Origin Its Hostility to Mohammed 
The Syrian Princes Their Profligacy Splendors of 
Damascus Luxury of the Syrian Capital Rise of the 
Abbasides Proscription of the Defeated Faction Escape 
of Abd-al-Rahman His Romantic Career He enters 
Spain His Success Defeat and Dethronement of Yusuf 
Constant Insurrections Enterprise of the Khalif of 
Bagdad Its Disastrous Termination Invasion of Charle- 
magne Slaughter of Roncesvalles Death of Abd-al-Rah- 
man His Character His Services to Civilization Foun- 
dation of the Great Mosque The Franks reconquer 

I now turn to that splendid period wherein was 
displayed the glory of the line of the Ommeyades, 
an epoch forever memorable for its achievements in 
science and practical philosophy; forever illustrious 
in the history of intellectual progress as well as for 
the development of those useful arts which diminish 
the toil and increase the happiness of every individual, 
irrespective of rank, whose influence and avocations 
insensibly contribute their share to the amelioration or 
degradation of humanity. 

Prominent among the nobles of Mecca, equal in 
pride of lineage and superior in real power to the 
Hashemites, to which tribe the Prophet belonged, was 
the family of the Ommeyades. Although not exempt 
from a well-grounded suspicion of atheism, they were, 
from motives of policy, devoted champions of the wor- 
ship of the Kaaba. Their idolatrous predilections were 
disclosed by the significant names of their chieftains, 

368 History of the 

and especially by that of their founder, Abd-al-Shams, 
" The Slave of the Sun." While the sheiks of the 
Hashemites, the hereditary guardians of the Kaaba, 
enjoyed the nominal authority of heads of the Kore- 
ish, the military talents and intellectual endowments 
of the Ommeyades secured for their chiefs the com- 
mand of the army, an advantage by no means counter- 
balanced by the spiritual influence possessed by their 
rivals over the worldly and skeptical population of 
Mecca. The commerce of the Holy City, which 
reaped such substantial benefits from its position as 
the centre of Arabian superstition, was largely in the 
hands of the Ommeyades. The great caravans, which, 
at regular periods, carried on a lucrative traffic with 
Egypt and Syria, were placed under the charge of 
their most distinguished leaders. The riches amassed 
by the principal members of the family were pro- 
digious, and their insolence and cruelty were, in nearly 
every instance, in a direct ratio to their wealth and 
power. Quick to perceive that their political influ- 
ence as well as their pecuniary interests would be 
seriously imperilled by the spread of Islam, the Om- 
meyades early displayed the most unrelenting hostility 
towards their countryman Mohammed. They reviled 
his doctrines. They scoffed at his pretensions to 
divine inspiration. His proselytes were followed by 
the taunts and insults of the mob of Mecca, instigated 
by the dissolute young nobles of the Koreish aristoc- 
racy. Long before he had secured a respectable fol- 
lowing, the Prophet, on several occasions, narrowly 
escaped the violence of his insidious enemies; and 
the Hegira itself, the era from which the magnificent 
dynasties of Syria and Spain were to date the acts of 
their sovereigns, was necessitated by the discovery of 
a murderous plot against him hatched and matured by 
the chiefs of the Ommeyades. 

In the defeat of Ohod, where the Prophet was 

Moorish Empire in Europe 369 

wounded and nearly lost his life ; at the siege of Me- 
dina, which menaced with destruction the existence of 
the new religion, the hostile armies were commanded by 
Abu-Sofian, the principal sheik of this powerful fam- 
ily. His wife, the termagant Hind, prompted by the 
impulses of a savage and a cannibal, had torn out and 
partly devoured the liver of Hamza, Mohammed's 
uncle, and had worn a necklace and bracelets of the 
ears of Moslems who had fallen bravely in battle. 
After the surrender of Mecca, Abu-Sofian and his 
partisans were induced to show a pretended con- 
formity with the observances of the detested faith, 
but only under the threat of instant death. 

The Syrian princes, despite their services to litera- 
ture and art, were, almost without exception, profli- 
gates and infidels. Ever famous for voluptuousness 
and frivolity, they had inherited and improved upon 
the seductive dissipations of the Roman Empire. In 
the ingenious invention and development of depraved 
tastes and acts of unspeakable infamy, Antioch and 
Damascus stood unrivalled. The use of wine, pro- 
hibited by the Koran, was universal; the debauchery 
of the court, which rivalled that of the worst period 
of imperial degradation, excited the wonder and dis- 
gust of foreigners. The ministers of the most revolt- 
ing vices, unmolested, defiled with their presence alike 
the halls of the palace and the precincts of the mosque. 
The drunkenness of the Khalif not infrequently re- 
quired the constant attendance of slaves, even in the 
audience chamber. Vast sums were lavished upon 
singing and dancing boys painted and attired like 
women, an abomination in the eyes of every con- 
scientious Mussulman. Female musicians and per- 
formers, whose attractions often obtained over the 
susceptible monarch a dangerous and permanent 
ascendency, were imported at great expense from 
Mecca, the focus of the religion and the vice of 

Vol. I. 24 

370 History of the 

Asia. A spirit of boundless extravagance was culti- 
vated as a necessary attribute of regal splendor, and 
a timely jest or a ribald song often procured for an 
unworthy favorite a reward equal to the revenue of 
a province. 

Damascus, under the rule of the Ommeyades, pre- 
sented a picture of licentiousness and luxury un- 
equalled, before or since, by that or any other com- 
munity of the Moslem world. The importance of its 
commerce, the opulence of its citizens, the beauty of 
its suburbs, the sanctity of its traditions, and the pres- 
tige of its name gained for the most venerable city 
of antiquity the admiration and the reverence of every 
traveller. Its temples were embellished with all the 
magnificent creations of Oriental art. Its palaces 
were encrusted with porphyry, verde-antique, lapis 
lazuli, and alabaster. Through its gardens, over 
whose mosaic walks waved in stately majesty the 
palm, and where the air was perfumed with the fra- 
grance of a thousand flowers and aromatic shrubs, 
flowed rivulets of the purest water. In every court- 
yard were fountains, and in the harems of the wealthy 
they were often fed with costly wines. The most 
gaudy attire was affected even by the populace, and 
no material but silk was considered worthy of the dig- 
nity of a Syrian noble. In the shops of the bazaar, 
divided as are those of the East to-day into sections 
appropriated to different wares, were to be found ob- 
jects of commerce of every country from Hindustan 
to Britain. The various nationalities which composed 
the population of the city were each distinguished by 
a peculiar costume, and the brilliant and picturesque 
aspect of the living streams which poured unceasingly 
through the streets was enhanced by the multitudes 
of visitors whom business or curiosity had attracted to 
the capital of the khalif ate. 

With the occupation of the city by the Moslems, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 371 

its physical aspect, the character of its population, 
and the nature of its political institutions had changed 
with its religion. From Grseco-Syrian, affected to 
some extent by Persian influence, it became thor- 
oughly Arab. The apparently ineradicable ideas of 
personal liberty entertained by the Bedouin, incon- 
sistent even with the salutary restraints necessary for 
the maintenance of government and the preservation 
of society, were carried from the boundless Desert 
into the circumscribed area of the Syrian metropolis. 
Every tribe had its own municipal district or ward, 
separated from the others by walls fortified by towers, 
and closed at sunset by massive gates. So perfect 
was this isolation that each quarter exhibited the 
picture of a miniature town, independent of the 
others, with its markets, caravansaries, mosques, and 
cemeteries. The rule of separation was carried still 
farther in these communities by assigning different 
wards to Jews and Christians, a practice still to be 
observed in the cities of the Orient. Unobstructed 
communication with the surrounding country was ob- 
tained by means of gateways in the principal wall, of 
which each quarter always possessed one and some- 
times more. This singular arrangement, a constant 
protest against the centralized despotism which, de- 
spite its professions, is the governing principle of 
Islam, greatly facilitated the political disturbances 
and insurrections whose prevalence is so marked a 
feature in the history of Damascus. 

The Great Mosque, inferior in sanctity only to the 
temples of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem, stood in 
the very centre of the city. The plan and decorations 
of the structure were Byzantine, and still bear no in- 
considerable resemblance to those of the Cathedral of 
St. Mark at Venice. In such profusion were mosaics 
lavished upon its walls that even the exterior blazed 
with the intolerable brilliancy of this elegant orna- 

372 History of the 

mentation. Its imposing dome and slender minarets, 
rising above a maze of houses and gardens, were the 
first objects which met the expectant glance of the 
camel-driver as he urged his weary beast over the 
drifting sands of the Desert. At the fountain of 
its spacious court the pilgrim from Yemen and the 
merchant from Irac, side by side, performed the lus- 
trations enjoined upon the true believer. Before its 
gorgeous Kiblah the curious of every clime, the devout 
of every rank, the prince and the beggar, the noble 
and the dervish, the master and the slave, in fraternal 
concord implored the protection and the blessing of 

The splendors of the Orient were reflected by the 
court and the palace of the khalifate. The quarries 
of Europe, Africa, and Asia were ransacked for the 
rarest marbles. Temples of Pagan deities were 
stripped of frieze and capital carved by the hands of 
famous sculptors of antiquity. Byzantine mosaics 
glittered upon the floors and walls with a sheen that 
resembled folds of satin drapery and cloth of gold. 
The tapestries of Persia, whose designs ignored the 
injunction of the Koran prohibiting the representa- 
tion of forms of animal life, were suspended, in gor- 
geous magnificence, from portals of verde-antique 
and arcades of Numidian marble and polished jasper. 
The gilded ceilings were of odoriferous woods curi- 
ously inlaid in bewildering arabesques with ivory, 
mother-of-pearl, ebony, and tortoise-shell. The pro- 
fusion of water recalled the partiality of the Arab 
for the precious fluid associated with the toilsome 
march of the caravan, with the repose of the camp, 
with the refreshing coolness of the verdant oasis, with 
the triumph of the foray, Math many a happy memory 
and sacred tradition of the Desert. In every court- 
yard sparkled jets of spray drawn from the sources 
of the famous rivers Abana and Pharpar. Channels 

Moorish Empire in Europe 373 

cut in the marble floors conducted the overflow 
through the summer apartments of the palace into 
the little canals which traversed, in every direction, the 
fragrant gardens. The baths, designed to subserve 
the threefold purpose of religion, health, and pleasure, 
were fitted up with almost incredible luxury. Upon 
their walls the artists of Constantinople had exhausted 
their utmost ingenuity and skill. The basins were of 
porphyry and alabaster ; the silver pipes were finished 
with the heads of animals carved in solid gold. The 
air that came from the furnace through the hypocaust 
was laden with the sweetness of a hundred intoxicating 
odors. The divans upon which the bathers reclined 
were covered with damask, embroidered with many 
colored silk in a maze of graceful and capricious pat- 
terns. Through windows of stained glass, high up 
in the vaulted ceiling, the brilliant rays of a Syrian 
sun fell, tempered and refracted in iridescent hues 
upon the scene of luxurious repose and sensuality 

With the terrible retribution that followed the death 
of Othman, the tribal supremacy and with it the con- 
trol of the Moslem government was transferred to 
the heads of the Meccan aristocracy of the clan of 
Abu-Sofian. The sincerity of their professions had 
long been doubted. The unwise appointments of 
Othman, a member of that family, was the principal 
cause of the popular discontent that culminated in his 
assassination. Weak and vacillating, his movements 
were directed by his uncle Hakem, who had betrayed 
the confidence of Mohammed, and had been ignomini- 
ously driven from the Hedjaz. Another Ommeyade, 
the father of Walid, Governor of Kufa, spat in the 
face of the Prophet, and had been executed as a felon ; 
while the sacrilegious conduct of his worthy son had 
provoked a dangerous riot in the very mosque of his 
capital. Still another, Abdallah-Ibn-Sad, Governor 

374 History of the 

of Egypt, raised to the coveted dignity of secretary 
of Mohammed, had perverted the texts of the Koran, 
and had fled and apostatized, thereby incurring the 
penalty of death. Under Muavia, the first Syrian 
Khalif, the outward ceremonies of religion were 
practised and the precepts of the Koran obeyed with 
apparent fidelity. But this conformity, palpably in- 
sincere, was largely the effect of policy. The ortho- 
doxy of a people whose ancestors were for centuries 
the ministers of idolatrous worship, who resisted with 
every resource of contumely and violence the apostle 
of a new religion in his weakness, and assented re- 
luctantly to his dogmas in his power, and whose po- 
litical importance was directly dependent upon the 
maintenance of that religion, may, with propriety, be 
questioned. The Pagan traditions of his ancestors 
were predominant in the breast of Muavia. A decent 
reverence for the Koran, an apparent assent to its 
tenets, together with a politic and strict performance 
of the ceremonies of its ritual, concealed from his sub- 
jects all of the skepticism of his family, all of the 
abject superstition of his race. His palace swarmed 
with soothsayers and charlatans. Before engaging 
in any important undertaking, in the presence of pub- 
lic calamity, under the weight of domestic misfortune, 
he appealed for counsel to the arts of divination, de- 
nounced by Mohammed as a relic of idolatry and 
offensive to God. In his adherence to these heathen 
rites he was encouraged by the influence and example 
of his favorite consort, the mother of Yezid, a Bedouin 
of the tribe of the Beni-Kalb, who, amidst the luxuri- 
ous pomp of the Syrian court, still pined for the coarse 
fare and untrammelled freedom of the Desert. 

The Ommeyade Khalifs grudged no treasure and 
spared no toil in the adornment of their capital, the 
centre of their religion, the seat of their empire. To 
their political sagacity are to be attributed the massive 

Moorish Empire in Europe 375 

fortifications which preserved the city from the en- 
croachments of Persia and the plots of daring aspi- 
rants to imperial power. Their paternal beneficence 
was manifested by aqueducts and countless subter- 
ranean conduits which conveyed an unfailing supply 
of water into even the humblest dwellings of the poor. 
Their enlightened generosity relieved the suffering, 
encouraged the learned, promoted commerce, re- 
pressed fanaticism, dispelled the mists of ignorance. 
The white banner of their dynasty floated in triumph 
over the mosque of Medina, the towers of Bassora, the 
walls of Kairoan, the citadel of Toledo. In scientific 
acumen and literary renown the reputation of the 
court of Damascus was far inferior to that subse- 
quently attained by the Khali fate of Bagdad. The 
genius of the Syrian seemed less adapted to the slow 
and plodding researches of the laboratory than to the 
noisy wrangles of theological controversy. But in the 
material enjoyments of life, in the pomp which in- 
vested the dignity of sovereign, in the riotous exhibi- 
tion of sensual extravagance, Damascus was supreme. 
On occasions of ceremony the attire of the Khalif 
was of gold brocade, and only when he exercised the 
religious functions of his holy office incumbent on him 
as the head of Islam did he condescend to don the 
plain white vestments of his order. The menials of 
his household, even to the cooks, when they appeared 
before the Divan, were clad in damask. The devotees 
of pleasure were the favorite companions of the Suc- 
cessor of the Prophet. His days were passed at cock- 
fights and horse-races. The number of coursers which 
contended in these trials of speed was immense, some- 
times amounting to the incredible figure of one thou- 
sand. His nights were amused by the tales of story- 
tellers, by the improvisations of poets, by the antics 
of buffoons, by the lascivious contortions of profes- 
sional dancers. The barbaric orgies of the Bedouin 

376 History of the 

tents were transferred to the palace of the khalifate, 
and supplemented with the polished vices of Egypt 
and the nameless iniquities of Rome and Constanti- 
nople. In the depth and frequency of his potations, 
the royal expounder of the Koran might well chal- 
lenge the admiration of the seasoned revellers of Scan- 
dinavia. His drinking-horns were of enormous size. 
The wine used in the banquets was of the choice vin- 
tage of Tayif, a town in the vicinity of Mecca. Po- 
tent of itself, the effect of its draughts was heightened 
by the addition of musk and other aphrodisiacs. When 
the surfeited stomach could endure no more, emetics 
were employed to prolong the debauch and obviate its 
unpleasant consequences. 

What a contrast does all this splendor and profli- 
gacy present to the frugal habits, patriarchal sim- 
plicity, and homely virtues of the early khalif s ! 
What a change from the humble domestic offices per- 
formed by the Arabian Prophet, who often himself 
prepared his frugal meal and mended his tattered 
sandals! How different from the dignified reserve 
and earnest piety of Abu-Bekr; how strange when 
compared with the stoical demeanor and abstemious 
life of Omar, who entered Jerusalem at the head of 
his victorious army in a garb inferior to that of the 
meanest soldier, and whom an ambassador of the 
King of Persia found asleep, surrounded by beggars, 
upon the steps of the Great Mosque of Medina ! And 
yet a century had not elapsed from the Hegira to the 
period when the Ommeyades of Syria reached the 
meridian of their greatness and their power. 

The liberty enjoyed by women at this period was 
much greater than that subsequently conceded them 
by Mohammedan law. The lax manners of the Desert 
had not yet been completely subjected to the restric- 
tions demanded by new social conditions. During the 
reigns of the first khalif s, the barbarous practice 

Moorish Empire in Europe 377 

which countenanced the traffic in and service of eu- 
nuchs was unknown. Later, however, the close inter- 
course with the Byzantine and Persian courts sug- 
gested and encouraged the custom. But it would seem 
from accounts transmitted by the writers of the time 
that the institution of these guardians produced no 
marked effect upon the prevailing immorality; and 
the fidelity of even the modern eunuch is, as every 
adventurous Oriental traveller knows, far from in- 
corruptible. Princes visited clandestinely the harems 
of their subjects, and celebrated in licentious verse, 
without concealment of name or opportunity, the 
charms of their mistresses. Ladies of the royal house- 
hold intrigued openly with the poets and singers of 
the court. With such examples before them, the in- 
ferior orders of the people could hardly be expected 
to preserve even the appearance of virtue. As a 
matter of fact, in no country was society more cor- 
rupt, and the name of Syrian was everywhere a syno- 
nym of effeminacy, infidelity, and vice. 

But the excesses of the Khalif s of Damascus, scan- 
dalous as they were, became trifling faults in the eyes 
of the pious Moslem when he considered the horrible 
acts of sacrilege of which these sovereigns were guilty. 
The generals of Yezid, after the battle of Harra 
which avenged the murder of Othman and decided 
the fate of Arabia, delivered up the city of Me- 
dina to pillage. A massacre, so cruel as to provoke 
the indignation of an age accustomed to scenes of 
butchery and violence, was perpetrated by the infuri- 
ated soldiery. A thousand infants were born of the 
outrages of that fatal day to be branded for life with 
the epithet of the " Children of Harra." The troop- 
ers of the Syrian army, encumbered with their horses, 
fastened them amidst gibes and curses in the mosque ; 
the mosque founded by Mohammed upon the spot of 
propitious augury, where his favorite camel had 

378 History of the 

halted at the termination of the flight from Mecca. 
There, tethered between the pulpit, whence the texts 
of the Koran had fallen from the lips of the Prophet 
upon the attentive ears of multitudes of believers, and 
the tomb where his remains had been reverently laid 
by the hands of his companions, the restless horses 
defiled the place holiest on earth to the Mussulman 
save the Kaaba alone. The survivors of Bedr, whom 
the favor of Mohammed and the veneration of the 
populace had exalted to the rank of an ecclesiastical 
nobility, perished to a man. At the siege of Mecca, 
which soon followed, the privileges that, from time 
immemorial, had protected the sacred territory from 
insult were violated, and the mosque, set on fire by 
order of the commander of the army, was, with the 
Kaaba, entirely consumed. 

Under the administration of the succeeding khalifs 
of the House of Ommeyah, the mad freaks of these 
unworthy chiefs of Islam attained the climax of ex- 
travagance and sacrilege. Exhausted by debauchery 
and careless of public opinion, they sent their boon 
companions and their concubines, muffled in the royal 
robes, to repeat the morning prayer from the pulpit 
of the mosque. They degraded their sacred office by 
the assumption of mean disguises, the better to pen- 
etrate the interior of the houses of their neighbors, 
inviolable in the sight of every sincere Mussulman. 
They maintained and publicly caressed animals whose 
contact the law of Islam declared unclean. Their 
lives were sullied with incests and every physical 
abomination. The reverent Moslem will not tread 
upon a piece of paper, for fear it may be inscribed 
with a sentence from the Koran; but so little regard 
did the scoffing Ommeyade princes entertain for its 
sacred texts that they used it as a target for their 
arrows. Each was noted for his predilection for some 
favorite vice. Al-Walid I. was seldom sober, and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 379 

suffered no day to pass without a drunken orgy. 
Yezid II. starved himself on account of the death 
of a female slave. The conduct of Al-Walid II. was 
a strange compound of the tricks of a buffoon and 
the vagaries of a lunatic. In absolute defiance of the 
prejudices of his fellow-Mussulmans, he insisted that 
his dogs should accompany his retinue on the Pilgrim- 
age to Mecca. Although, by virtue of his office, the 
leader of the great Pilgrim caravan, who was ex- 
pected to afford an edifying example of piety to his 
followers and direct the customary devotional exer- 
cises, so little did he appreciate the duties of the occasion 
that he delegated his spiritual authority to one of his 
friends, and was with difficulty dissuaded from erect- 
ing a tent on the very summit of the Kaaba, wherein 
he might the more publicly outrage the feelings of 
the inhabitants of the Holy City by scenes of drunken- 
ness and riot. A pet monkey, which had been chris- 
tened Abu-Kais, was an inseparable companion of his 
revels. He quaffed the strong wine of Tayif from 
the same cup as his royal master, and with him shared 
alike the pleasures of intoxication and the depression 
consequent upon prolonged indulgence. The Khalif 
presented his strange associate to grave ambassadors 
as a venerable and learned Jew whom the justice of 
the Almighty had overtaken, and who, under the spell 
of enchantment, was now expiating, in the form of 
an unclean animal, a life of hypocrisy and sin. When 
the Khalif rode abroad, Abu-Kais accompanied him, 
clad in silk, and mounted on a donkey magnificently 
caparisoned. But it happened one day that Abu-Kais, 
having imbibed too freely of his master's liquor, was 
thrown from his steed and broke his neck. The grief 
of Al-Walid for the loss of the monkey was for weeks 
the jest of the capital. Abu-Kais was, to the great 
scandal of the faithful, honored with the rites of 
Moslem burial, and the Khalif, whose poetic talent 

380 History of the 

was far above mediocrity, composed some plaintive 
verses as a well-merited tribute to his conviviality and 

I have dwelt at some length upon the description 
of Damascus because of the close and significant re- 
semblance of the political, social, religious, and mili- 
tary institutions of Syria to those of Mohammedan 
Spain. In the population of the latter country the 
Syrian element greatly preponderated in influence, if 
not in numbers. The first Khalif of Andaluz was the 
last scion of the race of the Ommeyades. The feuds, 
the prejudices, the traditions, of both nations were 
identical. The Syrian exile ever retained in affection- 
ate remembrance the scenes and events of his child- 
hood. His armies were marshalled in the same order 
as were those which went forth to victory under the 
white banner of Muavia and Al-Walid. His cities 
were laid out in imitation of the irregular lines and 
labyrinthine streets of the Syrian capital. His palaces 
were constructed by architects familiar with the splen- 
did edifices which were the crowning ornament of the 
Eastern Khalif ate. The mosaics that sparkled around 
the Kiblah of the Great Temple of the West were 
the handiwork of the same school of Byzantine artists 
whose creations had adorned the stately dome which 
rose over the site of the ancient Church of St. John 
the Baptist. The Koran, whose leaves dyed with the 
life-blood of Othman were long exhibited with the 
garments of the martyred Khalif in the Djalma of 
Damascus, was for more than two centuries the object 
of a veneration approaching to idolatry, rendered by 
countless myriads of worshippers, attracted from 
every quarter of the globe by the marvels and the 
sanctity of the Mosque of Cordova. 

The gross and offensive ridicule of everything con- 
nected with religion and with a life passed in strict 
accordance with the principles of moral rectitude, so 

Moorish Empire in Europe 381 

popular at the court of Damascus, would have been 
considered impolitic and ill-bred by the polished so- 
ciety whose cities lined the shores of the Tagus and 
the Guadalquivir. But education and skepticism were 
almost equally diffused throughout the Peninsula, and 
there was, in fact, but little difference in the opinions 
concerning the divine origin and authenticity of the 
Koran entertained by the Moslem of Syria and the 
Moslem of Spain. Nor was the influence of the occult 
sciences less prominent in the West than in the East. 
Superior intelligence, which brought emancipation 
from many of the vices of superstition, did not seem 
to perceptibly diminish the confidence inspired by the 
mummeries and impostures of the wizard and the 

The Spanish Arabs, following the example of their 
Syrian brethren, raised woman to a position equally 
removed from the one she so ignominiously occupied 
in earlier and in later times, as the giddy toy of man 
or the abject slave of religious credulity. The voice 
of the princesses of Syria not infrequently decided 
the policy of the Divan. The ladies of Cordova were 
the chosen advisers of the monarch; the friends of 
philosophers; the learned associates of great physi- 
cians, astronomers, generals, and diplomatists. Free 
from the excessive prodigality, the defiant blasphemy, 
the extravagant follies of the Syrian dynasty, the sov- 
ereigns of the Western Khalif ate suffered no oppor- 
tunity to escape which would, even indirectly, secure 
for their subjects the substantial benefits of commerce, 
the manifold advantages of science, the pleasures of 
art, the consolations of literature; while they at the 
same time, actuated by a lofty ambition not confined 
by the limits of their own dominions, fostered those 
noble aspirations and incentives to progress which pro- 
mote the generous emulation of nations. 

A society whose religious teachers are atheists and 

382 History of the 

hypocrites, the contempt of whose rulers is constantly 
manifested towards a faith to which they are solely 
indebted for their authority and whose wickedness has 
become proverbial, can hardly survive the first reso- 
lute attempt at its overthrow. And so it happened 
with the Ommeyades at Damascus. Not only in Syria, 
but to the uttermost bounds of the khalifate, the 
stories of the vices and skepticism of the Commander 
of the Faithful were heard with disgust and horror. 
The law-abiding were scandalized by the orgies 
of the court. The descendants of those who had 
perished at Harra and Mecca, the remnant of the 
recalcitrant non-conformists of Persia, the seditious 
populace which had felt the iron hand of the governors 
of Irac, were inflamed with the desire and the hope 
of vengeance. The devout Mussulman, who con- 
scientiously observed the injunctions of the Koran and 
to whom the traditions of Islam were sacred as con- 
nected with the life and sayings of the Prophet, was 
shocked at the blasphemy which the Successor of Mo- 
hammed did not hesitate to utter, even within the pre- 
cincts of the mosque and before the very altar of God. 
From time to time the popular indignation was dis- 
played in insurrections, which, being spontaneous and 
deficient in organization and leadership, were crushed 
without difficulty. But under the reign of Merwan 
II., the fourteenth khalif of the dynasty, a formid- 
able rebellion broke out in Persia. The descendants 
of Abbas, the uncle of Mohammed and the grand- 
father of Ali, openly laid claim to the throne of the 
Orient. Their party was supported by Abu-Muslim, 
the greatest military commander of the age. Attached 
for generations to the memory of Ali, the Persians 
flocked by thousands to the camp of the insurgents, 
and the pretender, Abul- Abbas, having established his 
authority over the eastern provinces, moved westward 
to the conquest of Syria. Aware, when too late, of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 383 

the magnitude of the impending danger, which at first 
had been despised, the Khalif brought into requisition 
the entire resources of his empire to repel the invasion. 
In the plains of the Zab, a tributary of the Tigris, and 
not far from the site of ancient Nineveh, the two 
armies met in a conflict upon whose result were staked 
the destinies of the two great factions of Islam. The 
valor of the Abbasides, aided by the treason which per- 
vaded the ranks of the enemy, prevailed; the forces 
of Merwan were routed; and the foundations of a 
new empire were laid which was destined to eclipse, by 
the glories of Bagdad, the dazzling and meretricious 
splendor of the court of Damascus. And now a 
frightful proscription was inaugurated. Even the 
schismatics, whose lukewarm support had incurred the 
suspicions of the Ommeyades, were unable to escape 
the sword of the conqueror. It soon became evident 
that the fury of the Abbasides would be satisfied only 
with the absolute extermination of the hostile faction. 
The deposed Khalif, Merwan, who had fled to Egypt, 
was defeated in a skirmish and killed. Every member 
of his house whose rank was sufficiently exalted to in- 
spire the usurper with apprehensions was ruthlessly 
murdered. Where open violence did not avail, the 
basest treachery was employed. Abdallah, the uncle 
of Abul- Abbas, by affording some of the exiles assist- 
ance, had succeeded in gaining the confidence of the 
proscribed faction. He solemnly promised an asylum 
to all who would resort to Damascus and invoke his 
protection. Deluded by his professions, many left 
their hiding-places, where they had been in compara- 
tive security, to expose themselves to the designs of a 
perfidious enemy. When all had arrived who could be 
induced to confide in him, Abdallah gave a banquet 
in honor of his distinguished proteges, which more 
than seventy of the Ommeyades attended. In the 
midst of the festivities, at a given signal, a band of 

384 History of the 

soldiers burst in upon the assembly, and the unhappy 
guests were massacred. Rugs and curtains were 
thrown over their prostrate bodies; the revelry was 
renewed; and the partisans of the Abbasides toasted 
the monster whose ferocious cunning had cut off his 
most dangerous adversaries by the sacrifice of the rites 
of hospitality. Within the tent of the Bedouin the 
life of his most deadly enemy is sacred. But to the 
Arab of Syria or Persia no promise was binding, no 
engagement was inviolable, where his interests or his 
ambition were concerned. Thus had the fatal influ- 
ence of Roman and Byzantine manners vitiated the 
nature of a people whose sense of manly dignity and 
personal honor had for ages been conspicuous amidst 
the wide-spread depravity of Asia. 

Every member of the detested race whom the blood- 
thirsty diligence of their foes could discover was 
hunted like a wild beast and put to death. Children 
were butchered in the presence of their parents. 
Women who refused to disclose the hiding-places of 
their kindred, or the whereabouts of their jewels, were 
stabbed without ceremony. Abu-Ibn-Muavia, one of 
the noblest cavaliers of Damascus, was deprived of a 
hand and foot, and paraded through the cities of Syria 
upon an ass until pain and exhaustion relieved him of 
his misery. The ferocious Abbasides were not content 
with outrages upon the living ; they even violated the 
tombs of the khalifs and scattered to the winds the 
remains of those princes whose glory and whose crimes 
had adorned or defiled the throne of the East. 

Amidst the universal ruin of his family, one prince 
alone of the Ommeyades, Abd-al-Rahman-Ibn-Mua- 
via, had survived. Of rare promise and endowed with 
many virtues, he had long been the ornament of the 
court of Syria. He had received the best education 
obtainable in the schools of the capital. His mind had 
been enlarged by travel. The fortuitous advantages 

Mookish Empire in Europe 385 

of wealth and royal lineage added but little to the 
prestige attaching to his name. The conversation of 
learned men, daily attendance upon the proceedings 
of the Divan, intimate association with the highest 
dignitaries of the state, all had aided to familiarize 
him with the complex machinery of government. The 
turbulence of the times necessarily enlisted the mili- 
tary services of the various members of the royal 
house, and Abd-al-Rahman was not deficient in the 
knowledge of those duties required by the stirring life 
of the camp and the battle-field. In proficiency in 
manly exercises, in the daring adventures of the chase, 
in skill in the use of arms, he surpassed all competi- 

An accidental and timely absence from the court 
had preserved the young prince from the fate of his 
kindred. As soon as intelligence of the massacre 
reached him, he fled to an estate which he possessed 
near the Euphrates, and there he was soon joined by 
his household. But the horsemen of Abul-Abbas, 
whose implacable cruelty had acquired for him the 
appropriate title of Al-SafFah, The Sanguinary, were 
already upon his track ; his villa was surrounded, and 
by swimming the river he barely escaped with his life. 
By dint of perseverance and courage, after many 
perils, he succeeded in reaching Palestine, where he 
was found by Bedr, a freedman of his father, who 
brought him his sister's jewels, generously donated to 
relieve his necessities. From Palestine he passed in 
disguise into Africa, a province which had not yet 
renounced allegiance to the Ommeyades, and whose 
governor had been one of the most ardent supporters 
of the proscribed faction. Here he was hospitably 
welcomed, and at once found himself surrounded by 
friends and refugees who had eluded the vigilance of 
the Abbasides. The spirits of the exile rose with the 
present assurance of security in the companionship of 

Vol. I. 25 

386 History of the 

adherents whose sympathies were aroused, and whose 
passions were excited by the story of his wrongs. 
Years before, the downfall of the race of Ommeyah 
had been foretold by an astrologer, who had, at the 
same time, predicted the future greatness of the illus- 
trious fugitive. The intellect of Abd-al-Rahman, 
though strong, was not proof against the oracles of 
superstition which flattered his vanity while they in- 
spired him with awe, and he had listened, with all the 
credulity of an Oriental, to the mysterious hints of 
the charlatan. The first portion of the prediction had 
been verified. With the single exception of himself, 
the princes of his house had been exterminated. His 
conscious mental superiority, his political experience, 
his keen insight into human nature, his public and 
domestic virtues, persuaded him and suggested to his 
partisans that no one of his family was so worthy of 
a throne. Actuated by these ambitious feelings, and 
rashly permitting his aspirations to prevail over his 
gratitude, Abd-al-Rahman began to entertain hopes 
of securing the sovereignty of Africa. His impru- 
dent speeches came to the ears of the Viceroy, Ibn- 
Habib, a stern old soldier, who was a relative of Yu- 
suf and had once held high command in the army of 
Spain. He also was acquainted with the astrologer's 
prediction, and was not disposed to contribute to its 
accomplishment by the loss of his own life and the 
sacrifice of his power. Despising the guests whose 
base conduct had so ill requited his hospitality, he 
tendered his allegiance to the Abbaside Khalifate. 
All members of the obnoxious faction were at once 
expelled from the country. Abd-al-Rahman was 
forced to seek in disguise the most secluded regions 
of the Desert. His condition became more and more 
precarious. A reward of a thousand pieces of gold 
was offered for his head. He sought concealment 
among the Bedouins, but their generous hospitality 

Moorish Empire in Europe 387 

was not able to protect him from the tireless emissaries 
of the Viceroy, who pursued him from camp to camp 
and from tribe to tribe. On one occasion, he escaped 
from a tent just as the Berbers rushed into it. On 
another, the wife of a sheik concealed him in a corner 
under a pile of her garments. His means long since 
exhausted, he became dependent upon charity. His 
food was coarse and scanty, his clothes old and 
tattered. Although his youth had been pampered 
with the choicest delicacies of a royal table, he ate 
the barley bread and drank the camel's milk of the 
douars without a murmur. The nobility of his birth, 
the suavity of his manners, his skill and daring in 
the chase, and the patience with which he submitted 
to the trials of adverse fortune, gained for him the 
respect and esteem of his wild associates. Even in his 
destitution he never ceased to aspire to the throne of 
Africa, and, while his efforts were futile, the activity 
of the indignant Viceroy kept him in continual appre- 
hension. At length, after five years of vagabondage 
and perilous adventure, he became the guest of the 
Berber tribe of the Beni-Naf sa, a branch of the Zene- 
tah, from which his mother derived her origin and 
whose members inhabited the mountainous region to 
the south of Ceuta. Here, under the guardianship 
of his fellow-tribesmen, an alluring prospect was ere- 
long opened to his ambition, and the penniless wan- 
derer, without country or kindred, was suddenly called 
by the voice of a distant nation to found a new empire 
and fulfil a grand and magnificent destiny. 

In the mean time, the civil war in Spain between 
Yusuf and Ahmar, ruler of Saragossa, had been pro- 
ceeding with increasing atrocity but with various and 
doubtful fortune. Owing to the close relations main- 
tained by Africa and the Spanish Peninsula with each 
other, the armies of the latter country being constantly 
recruited from the martial population of the former, 

388 History of the 

and the governors themselves being connected by the 
ties of blood, an abiding interest in the political fort- 
unes of their brethren beyond the strait was naturally 
manifested by the Arab and Berber tribes, and intel- 
ligence of every important movement in Spain was 
transmitted to the cities and camps of Al-Maghreb with 
unfailing regularity. The vigilance and ability of the 
Viceroy of Africa had at length convinced Abd-al- 
Rahman of the hopelessness of any attempt to usurp 
his power. Ease of access to Andalusia and the dis- 
tracted condition of that country, with whose troubles 
he was thoroughly familiar, caused him to abandon the 
scheme which had for so long been the cherished object 
of his life for another which promised to be less im- 
practicable. A seasonable supply of money had lately 
reached the impoverished prince from his friends in 
Syria. With this he despatched the faithful Bedr, 
who had without complaint shared the privations of 
his exile, to Spain ; after entrusting him with a letter, 
in which he laid claim to the throne by right of in- 
heritance, directed to the partisans of his family who, 
to the number of several hundred, inhabited the east- 
ern portion of Andalusia. The letter was in due time 
delivered to the chiefs of the Syrians, who secretly con- 
voked an assembly of their tribesmen to determine 
what course should be pursued. The hereditary 
loyalty of the adherents of the Ommeyades; the ap- 
parent justice of the title of Abd-al-Rahman ; the 
anarchy that everywhere prevailed, and whose effects 
were at that time painfully manifest in the threefold 
scourge of massacre, famine, and disease; and the 
prospect of official promotion, assisted by a judicious 
distribution of the gold brought by Bedr, decided 
the suffrages of the council in favor of the prince. 
Scarcely had this opinion been adopted when a new 
difficulty was added to those which had already ren- 
dered the issue of the enterprise doubtful as well as 

Moorish Empire in Europe 389 

hazardous. The Syrians were ordered by the Emir to 
attend him in an expedition to the North. But, by 
plausible excuses, the chieftains were enabled to defer 
the time of departure, and a gift of a thousand pieces 
of gold was even obtained from Yusuf under pretext 
of relieving the pressing necessities of their depend- 
ents, but, in fact, to further a conspiracy having for 
its end his own dethronement. A ship was at once 
equipped ; Abd-al-Rahman was conveyed with a small 
escort of Berbers to the coast of the Peninsula, and, 
landing at the port of Almunecar, was received with 
the acclamations of a great multitude attracted to the 
spot by the combined motives of curiosity and loyal 
enthusiasm. After being duly proclaimed Emir, 
Abd-al-Rahman was conducted to a castle not far 
from Loja as the guest of the owner Obeydallah, one 
of his most zealous adherents. 

While these events were transpiring in the South, 
the expedition of Yusuf against the rebellious Berbers 
of Saragossa had been singularly fortunate. Over- 
awed by superior numbers, the insurgents had pur- 
chased immunity by the craven surrender of their 
leaders, Amir, Wahab, and Hobab. With these re- 
doubtable chieftains in his custody, the Emir was 
moving leisurely southward when he was informed 
of the defeat of a body of his troops by the Basques, 
and in a fit of ungovernable rage he ordered the 
immediate execution of his prisoners. By this cruel 
and impolitic act, for the culprits were of the 
purest blood of the Koreish, and were not responsible 
for the disaster to his arms, he alienated many of 
his stanchest supporters and materially increased the 
following and resources of his rival. A few hours 
afterwards a courier brought tidings of the landing 
of Abd-al-Rahman and of the new and formidable 
danger that menaced his crown. Thirsting for re- 
venge, the dependents of the massacred captives de- 

390 History of the 

serted his standard by hundreds. The forces of the 
Ommeyade prince increased daily; the Yemenites, 
who regarded his family with a hatred intensified by 
generations of injury and oppression, but whose de- 
testation of Yusuf was even deeper than that enter- 
tained towards the Syrian dynasty, were easily in- 
duced to embrace the cause of the former; and, by a 
strange revolution of fortune, the fugitive, who but 
a few weeks before had been in hourly peril of his 
life, now found himself invested with imperial au- 
thority and the commander of a veteran army of 
several thousand men. Fully appreciating the dan- 
gerous character of the revolt, as well as the uncertain 
consequences of a prolonged conflict, Yusuf at- 
tempted negotiation. Envoys bearing valuable pres- 
ents were despatched to the camp of Abd-al-Rahman, 
who were authorized to promise him the daughter of 
the Emir in marriage and an estate commensurate 
with his dignity if he would renounce all claims to 
the throne. The advisers of the prince, whose enthu- 
siasm had somewhat abated since they had taken time 
to reflect upon the possible results of their temerity, 
recommended that the proposals be accepted. A 
bitter taunt, however, provoked by the awkwardness 
of one of Abd-al-Rahman's retinue, abruptly termi- 
nated the negotiation; the sarcastic envoy was cast 
into a dungeon; and the embassy of the Emir, dis- 
missed without ceremony, narrowly escaped being 
plundered before it reached the gates of Cordova. 

No further course was now possible except an ap- 
peal to arms. The prevalence of anarchy, the fre- 
quent change of rulers, the pernicious immigration of 
barbarians from Africa, had thoroughly disorganized 
society. The allegiance of every subject was regarded 
as a mere matter of policy or choice. The armies were 
little better than banditti. Even the ties of tribal 
union had been relaxed, save when the spirit of ven- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 391 

geance required to be satisfied in accordance with the 
bloody traditions of the Desert. Treachery was so 
rife that no man was certain of the sincerity of his 
neighbor or could trust the loyalty of his friend. It 
was no uncommon occurrence for troops at the critical 
moment of a battle to publicly desert to the enemy, 
and immediately turn their weapons against their late 
companions-in-arms. The grave uncertainties of a 
contest, carried on under such circumstances, are ap- 
parent to every reader. The forces of Abd-al-Rah- 
man had recently received an important accession by 
the arrival of a considerable number of African 
cavalry, warriors of the clan of the Zenetah, whose 
tribal connections, as well as their inexperience in the 
political intrigues of the emirate, rendered their alle- 
giance less precarious than that of the veterans to 
whom all masters were alike and whose principal in- 
centive was plunder. 

Early in the spring the army of Abd-al-Rahman 
took up its march with a view to the capture of Cor- 
dova. Its course, however, was not directly towards 
the capital, but farther to the south, where the Syrian 
and Egyptian tribes whose sentiments were known 
to be favorable to the cause of the Ommeyades had 
been distributed. Everywhere the insurgents were 
welcomed with enthusiasm; the bravest warriors 
joined their ranks; and the towns, one after an- 
other, including Seville, the most important city of 
Andalusia in point of population, opened their gates 
to the pretender. Abd-al-Rahman had scarcely re- 
ceived the homage of his new subjects before he 
learned that Yusuf , who, aided by his counsellor Al- 
Samil, had collected a formidable army in the prov- 
inces of Toledo and Murcia, had marched from Cor- 
dova to intercept him. Leaving the city, the prince 
proceeded northward with the expectation of seizing 
the capital during the absence of the Emir. But the 

392 History of the 

crafty old soldier was not to be taken unawares. The 
movement of the insurgents was at once detected; 
Yusuf retraced his steps; and for several hours the 
two armies raced on together with the river between 
them. Arriving at a village called Mosara, situated 
about a league from Cordova, Abd-al-Rahman halted. 
The clamors of his soldiers, who had been on short 
rations and were greatly fatigued by the rapid march 
they had been compelled to undertake, now rose 
ominously on his ears. A council of war was called, 
and it was decided to attack the enemy on the follow- 
ing morning. By means of a ruse, which reflected 
little credit upon his character, Abd-al-Rahman was 
enabled to cross the river Avithout molestation. He 
sent word to Yusuf that he was willing to renew the 
negotiations which had been broken off before the 
commencement of hostilities ; that the terms were en- 
tirely acceptable ; and that there was so fair a prospect 
of peace that the treaty could be more conveniently 
arranged if the two camps were more accessible to each 
other. Duped by these plausible representations, the 
Emir suffered his enemies to pass the Guadalquivir, 
and, learning of their half-famished condition, even 
sent provisions to their camp. At dawn the troops of 
Abd-al-Rahman prepared for action. The day was 
propitious. It was the anniversary of the conflict of 
the Prairie, where an ancestor of the young prince had 
signally defeated an adversary whose title was the 
same as that of Yusuf. The coincidence was carried 
still further, for it was not forgotten by the super- 
stitious Arabs that the vizier of the Emir and his royal 
tribesman both belonged to the race of Kais. These 
prognostics of success were diligently circulated 
through the ranks of the Ommeyades, already elated 
by the prospect of victory. The unwelcome omens 
did not have a less powerful influence upon the imag- 
ination of their opponents, for, disheartened and f al- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 393 

tering, they regarded themselves as having incurred 
the displeasure of heaven. The battle was half lost 
before it fairly began. 

So little confidence had the Yemenites in their com- 
mander, whose life and fortunes were staked on the 
issue, that the prince was compelled to exchange his 
war-horse for an old and crippled mule to avoid the 
suspicion of intending to abandon his followers in the 
event of disaster. The royal standard was a white 
turban attached to a lance; an ensign of equally 
humble origin, and destined to no less celebrity than 
the leathern apron of the Persian dynasty, for many 
generations the symbol of conquest, empire, and glory. 
The cavalry of Abd-al-Rahman routed that of the 
enemy, driving it back upon the infantry and throw- 
ing the latter into confusion. The right wing and 
centre soon gave way; the left wing maintained its 
position for some hours, when it also was broken. The 
plain was covered with fugitives, who were speared 
without mercy and trampled to death by the savage 
Zenetes. Yusuf and Al-Samil succeeded in escaping 
by the fleetness of their horses; the former fled to 
Merida, the latter took refuge in Jaen. Such was the 
battle of Mosara, upon whose result hinged the des- 
tinies of Spain. 

The contest was hardly over before the character- 
istic perfidy of the Yemenite chieftains began to mani- 
fest itself. To the latter the lineage of Abd-al-Rah- 
man was peculiarly offensive. Aside from the general 
and deep-seated prejudice they entertained against his 
family, many of them were descendants of the martyrs 
and exiles of Medina and Harra. Having satiated 
their revenge by the rout of the Maadites, and being 
restrained from indiscriminate pillage by the com- 
mand of Abd-al-Rahman, Abu-Sabbah, one of the 
leaders, proposed to assassinate him. The suggestion 
was listened to calmly by his associates, who discussed 

394 History of the 

it without regard to its moral aspect but solely with 
a view to its present expediency and political conse- 
quences, and the more readily as tribal interest was 
ever the controlling motive of their conduct. Notified 
of their treasonable deliberations, Abd-al-Rahman 
lost no time in surrounding himself with a guard. 
Thus foiled, the leader of the conspirators dissembled 
his chagrin and endeavored by extravagant demon- 
strations of loyalty to atone for his crime, but the 
penetration of Abd-al-Rahman was not to be deceived, 
and, some months afterwards, the treacherous Abu- 
Sabbah was summarily executed. 

Although attended with success at the outset, the 
task of Abd-al-Rahman was far more difficult than 
he had anticipated. The chiefs of the opposite faction 
soon repaired their fortunes and appeared at the head 
of fresh troops. While Abd-al-Rahman was on the 
march to attack Yusuf, who had joined Al-Samil in 
the province of Jaen, the Emir sent his son, Abu-Zaid, 
by unfrequented roads, to seize and recover the capital. 
The city was surprised and the garrison made pris- 
oners, but the hasty return of the Ommeyades ren- 
dered an immediate evacuation necessary. Resuming 
his march, Abd-al-Rahman proceeded rapidly towards 
the mountains of Jaen. Yusuf and Al-Samil, con- 
scious of their present weakness, made overtures for 
peace; and a treaty was concluded by whose terms 
Abd-al-Rahman was to allow the Emir and his vizier 
the unmolested possession of their estates, and they, 
on the other hand, were to surrender the strongholds 
held by their partisans. It was also stipulated that 
Yusuf should reside permanently at Cordova, where 
two of his sons, Abu-Zaid and Abu-al-Aswad, were 
detained as hostages. 

The renunciation of authority by Yusuf left Abd- 
al-Rahman the nominal master of the Peninsula. 
But the elements of discord, which had so long 

Moorish Empire in Europe 395 

harassed the country, were too powerful to be re- 
strained by the influence of a youth who was a 
comparative stranger to the majority of his subjects. 
Anarchy, sustained and promoted by the avarice of 
lawless bands and the ambition of unscrupulous chief- 
tains, had become the normal condition of a society 
whose constituents were accustomed to be arrayed 
'against each other, and the services of whose soldiers 
were notoriously at the disposal of whoever was will- 
ing to pay the most liberally for them. At first the 
deposed Emir and his faithful councillor seemed re- 
signed to the reverses which had imposed upon them 
the conditions of vassalage. They lived in apparent 
harmony with the new sovereign. Their advice was 
frequently solicited and adopted in matters of impor- 
tance. Their vanity was flattered and their dignity 
sustained by the pomp of establishments not inferior 
in splendor to those which they had possessed in their 
days of independence. Not so, however, with the sub- 
ordinate officers and ministers of the emirate. Under 
the new administration all employments of responsi- 
bility and power had been vested in the friends and 
adherents of Abd-al-Rahman. The opportunities for 
peculation and official corruption, once so abundant 
and lucrative, had disappeared, or were enjoyed by 
aliens and hereditary enemies. From positions of 
trust and circumstances of opulence many distin- 
guished nobles had been degraded to a life of insignifi- 
cance and poverty. These malcontents, whose tribal 
relations with Yusuf gave them ready access to his 
presence, took advantage of every occasion to influ- 
ence his hatred and stimulate his ambition with tales 
of oppression and hopes of independence. The con- 
stitutional weakness of the Emir was not proof 
against these specious representations, incessantly 
urged by his partisans. Having secretly made his 
preparations he fled to Merida. Pursuit was fruitless, 

396 History of the 

and the sole consolation left to Abd-al-Rahman was 
the knowledge that Al-Samil and the sons of Yusuf 
were still in his power. Mortified beyond expression, 
and apprehensive that they also might escape, he 
ordered them to be cast into prison. 

The reputation of Yusuf, and the habitual discon- 
tent of the masses, naturally inclined to disorder, soon 
provided him with a well-appointed force of twenty- 
thousand men. With this he laid siege to Seville, 
whose governor at that time was Abd-al-Melik, an 
Ommeyade refugee. Scarcely had the Emir invested 
the city when he abandoned the undertaking, and 
attempted, by a rapid march, to seize Cordova before 
its garrison could be reinforced. He was too late ; the 
army of Abd-al-Rahman was already in motion, and 
Yusuf retired only to meet the forces of Abd-al-Melik, 
whose son had come to his aid with a large detachment, 
enabling him to approach the enemy from the rear. A 
battle was fought, and Yusuf sustained a crushing 
defeat. With great difficulty the discomfited prince 
escaped the swords of the victors, and he had almost 
reached Toledo when he was intercepted and cut down 
by a party of Yemenites, who hoped by this important 
service to obtain favor for themselves and peace for 
their distracted country. Thus perished miserably the 
most formidable adversary of Abd-al-Rahman. His 
distinguished connexions; the military experience of 
half a century; the responsible commands which he 
had administered ; the prestige that attached to him as 
the successful opponent of Charles Martel; the con- 
sideration resulting from the exercise and enjoyment 
of royal dignity; the numerous following which had 
shared his favor and hoped for the re-establishment of 
his power, had acquired for him a reputation and an 
influence far beyond his merits. His character was a 
strange compound of noble and vicious qualities. 
Courageous on the field of battle, in his tent he became 

Moorish Empire in Europe 397 

the timorous dupe of every conjuror, the obsequious 
slave of every charlatan. While not destitute of reso- 
lution in moments of danger, he accepted, without 
question, the pernicious advice of evil counsellors. So 
absolute was this dependence that, during the latter 
years of his life, his vizier, Al-Samil, was recognized 
as the actual master of Spain. But, despite his fail- 
ings, Yusuf was not deficient in generosity, nor in 
those qualifications which raise men to political emi- 
nence and military fame; and it was not without 
reason, when the events of his extraordinary career 
are considered, that popular rumor and personal 
esteem conferred upon him the flattering distinction 
of being one of the most accomplished rulers of his 

As soon as he was informed of the death of his 
rival, Abd-al-Rahman, instructed by experience of 
the danger attending temporizing measures, pro- 
ceeded to dispose permanently of those members of 
Yusuf's party from whom he had reason to appre- 
hend future annoyance. The vizier, Al-Samil, whose 
talents had long exercised a controlling influence in 
the state, and whose moroseness of temper had been 
aggravated by punishment, in all probability un- 
merited, was quietly strangled in prison. Abu-Zaid, 
the elder of the Emir's sons, whose lives, as hostages, 
had been forfeited by their father's rebellion, was be- 
headed. The extreme penalty was commuted, in the 
case of the younger, to perpetual imprisonment, and 
Abu-al-Aswad, who was indebted for this clemency 
to his tender age, was immured in one of the strongest 
towers of the citadel of Cordova. 

These violent and decisive measures were produc- 
tive of only temporary security. The sight of the 
grisly heads of the Fihrites nailed over the gates of 
the capital awakened resentment and horror rather 
than fear. The country still remained in a turmoil. 

398 History of the 

Bands of marauding Berbers roamed far and wide, 
molesting the peasantry, threatening the cities, closing 
the avenues of trade, discouraging all the avocations 
of peace. The universal agitation at length developed 
into open rebellion. Hischem-Ibn-Ozra, a Fihrite 
chieftain, whose relationship to Yusuf, joined to an 
enterprising spirit, gave him considerable political 
influence, organized an insurrection in the North, and 
occupied Toledo. Strongly garrisoned by the insur- 
gents, it had held out against the army sent to reduce 
it for more than a year, when tidings were received 
by the court of Cordova of the landing of a more dan- 
gerous enemy than had yet menaced the stability of 
the newly established kingdom. The Abbasides, 
whose capital had been removed from Damascus to 
Bagdad, had, under a succession of able princes, 
reached the summit of intellectual greatness and 
military renown. They had seen, with envy and 
indignation, the accomplishment of the ambitious 
designs of the most implacable enemy of their house. 
He had almost miraculously escaped the manifold 
snares which their ingenuity had laid for him. The 
magnificent reward which had been offered for his 
head had failed to corrupt the fidelity of the indigent 
and grasping Berbers, whose cupidity was seldom 
proof against the most insignificant bauble. If of 
sufficient importance to excite apprehension when a 
fugitive, how much more was to be feared from his 
ambition and revenge as a rival; the sovereign of a 
mighty kingdom, the claimant of the honors and dig- 
nity of the khalif ate ! Resolved to crush, if possible, the 
growing power of the Ommeyades before it became 
too strong to be successfully assailed, the Abbaside 
Khalif, Abu-Giafar-al-Mansur, ordered Ala-Ibn- 
Mugayth, wali of Kairoan, to attempt the subjection 
of Spain. In order to inspire deeper confidence in 
the powers delegated to his lieutenant, a black silken 

Moorish Empire in Europe 399 

banner, whose color was the emblem of his party, ac- 
companied that officer's commission. The details of 
this undertaking the more ominous because it pre- 
sented an opportunity for the reconciliation of fac- 
tions; appealed strongly to the turbulent and 
rapacious spirit of the populace; and asserted a pre- 
scriptive claim of authority based upon conquest and 
dominion hitherto tacitly accorded to the monarch 
of the East had been carefully pre-arranged. An 
understanding had been established between the mal- 
contents of the Peninsula and the court of Bagdad. 
The rebels besieged in Toledo maintained, through 
their friends, frequent and uninterrupted communi- 
cation with the Viceroy of Africa. When Ala-Ibn- 
Mugayth landed in the province of Beja, he was 
received with even more enthusiasm than had been 
manifested on the arrival of Abd-al-Rahman. The 
Khali f of Bagdad was proclaimed. The prince of 
the Ommeyades was not only declared a rebel and 
an usurper, but an effort was made to inflame the 
passions of the combatants, in a struggle already suf- 
ficently malevolent, by investing it with a religious 
character, and Abd-al-Rahman was declared a schis- 
matic and an infidel. A price was set upon his head, 
and the revered name and authority of the Successor 
of the Prophet was invoked to effect his assassination, 
which was to be rewarded with the distinguished favor 
of the sovereign, a treasure of gold and jewels, and, 
by what was of far more value to the devoted fanatic, 
eternal happiness in the life to come. 

It soon became evident that this outbreak was no 
ordinary insurrection. The Yemenites, whose loyalty 
to the cause of Abd-al-Rahman had always been sus- 
pected; the Fihrites, who had recent grudges to 
satisfy; the Berbers, ever ready for bloodshed and 
rapine; the zealots of every faction, who regarded 
the title of the Ommeyades as a flagrant usurpation of 

400 History of the 

divine authority, enrolled themselves in the ranks of 
the Abbasides. The constant defection of large bodies 
of troops made it necessary to draw on the army 
investing Toledo, and, in consequence, the rebel gar- 
rison of that city was soon united with the already 
immense host of the wali of Kairoan. Many of the 
towns of Andalusia were occupied. The fertile en- 
virons of the capital were swept by the Berber cavalry. 
Abd-al-Rahman was besieged in Carmona, whose gar- 
rison was soon reduced to extremity through lack of 
provisions. The siege had lasted two months when 
the Abbasides, confiding in their overwhelming num- 
bers, began to grow careless. The officers neglected 
their duties. The sentinels relaxed their vigilance. 
With the proverbial inconstancy of the Oriental, dis- 
contented with delay and impatient of hardship, hun- 
dreds deserted their standards. Aware of these cir- 
cumstances, Abd-al-Rahman, at the head of a picked 
band of warriors, made a sudden attack by night. 
The enemy was surprised; a panic seized the camp; 
all thought of resistance was abandoned, and at dawn 
the chieftains of the hostile army and seven thousand 
of their men lay dead on the field of battle. The 
commander and his principal officers were decapi- 
tated; and their heads, after having been thoroughly 
cleansed, were packed in camphor and salt, with a 
label fastened to an ear of each to designate the name 
and rank of the owner. These ghastly trophies were 
then placed in sealed bags, together with the commis- 
sion of the wali and the standard of the Abbasides, 
and conveyed by a merchant to Kairoan, where they 
were secretly deposited at night in the market-place. 
When Abu-Giafar-Al-Mansur received intelligence 
of the catastrophe that had befallen his enterprise, 
and of the fearful manner in which that intelligence 
had been communicated, he exclaimed, " It is the act 
of a demon; God be praised who has placed the sea 
between me and such an enemy." 

Moorish Empire in Europe 401 

The fate of the rebels before Carmona struck terror 
into the garrison of Toledo, again blockaded by a 
great army. Negotiations were opened with the 
besiegers, and favorable terms obtained, conditional 
upon the surrender of the most prominent leaders to 
the vengeance of the Emir. Orders were then re- 
ceived to conduct the prisoners to Cordova. At some 
distance from its destination the escort was met by 
a tailor, a barber, and a basket-maker, each provided 
with the implements of his calling. The soldiers 
halted, and the barber removed the hair and beards of 
the rebels. The tailor enveloped their bodies in 
strait- jackets of coarse cloth, and the basket -maker 
wove for each one a pannier, which, closely encircling 
his waist, rendered all movement of his lower ex- 
tremities impossible. These grotesque figures were 
then slung on donkeys, and, after having been 
paraded through the streets of the city, accompanied 
by the taunts and missiles of a howling mob, were 
dragged to the place of public execution and crucified. 

The Berbers, whose predatory habits kept the first 
emirs in a state of constant apprehension and whose 
savage instincts were the ultimate cause of the ruin 
of the Moslem empire in Spain, now once more took 
up arms in defiance of the sovereign authority. A 
shrewd adventurer, Chakya by name, of the tribe of 
Miknesa, had, by a spurious claim of descent from 
the Prophet, through Fatima his daughter, and by the 
assumption of miraculous gifts, succeeded in gaining 
the confidence of these superstitious barbarians. His 
profession of school-master acquired for him a repu- 
tation for extensive learning in an age of ignorance; 
and the assiduous study of the Koran invested his 
person with a sanctity whose advantages he did not 
underrate in the selection of means to be employed for 
the realization of his schemes of ambition. The ex- 
travagant veneration of the Berbers for individuals 

Vol. I. 26 

402 History of the 

supposed to be possessed of supernatural endowments, 
a sentiment which, in this instance, perfectly coincided 
with their inclinations for war and rapine, caused them 
to hasten from all directions to support the claims of 
the impostor. The latter displayed no little political 
tact and generalship. His active emissaries tempted the 
fealty of every chieftain accessible to their insinuating 
arts. His armies, inspired with the ardor of fanati- 
cism, and directed with an ability not to be expected 
from a leader hitherto without experience in the con- 
duct of military operations, repeatedly defeated the 
forces of Abd-al-Rahman ; ravaged his dominions to 
the very environs of the capital; and, secure in the 
mountains of the West, defied the entire power of the 
government for nearly ten years. The political situa- 
tion was further complicated by the defection of the 
Yemenites, who, on the eve of a decisive battle, as- 
sailed the Emir in the rear. The remarkable promi- 
nence attained by Chakya was eventually fatal to the 
continuance of his power. A Berber chieftain of 
great influence was approached by the agents of Abd- 
al-Rahman and persuaded to betray his party. In 
the midst of a fiercely contested engagement the Ber- 
bers gave way ; their lines were broken ; and a fright- 
ful butchery ensued, in which the impostor lost thirty 
thousand of his followers. His control over the minds 
of his dupes was, however, not shaken by this disaster, 
and he maintained the struggle for four years longer, 
when he was murdered by his comrades in a private 
quarrel. The great mound enclosing the remains of 
these victims of treason and carnage was, more than 
two hundred years afterwards, a prominent feature 
of the landscape, and a significant memorial of the 
suicidal wars which consumed the resources and re- 
tarded the progress of the Moslems of Spain. 

Notwithstanding the bloody retribution provoked 
by every attempt to overturn the throne of Abd-al- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 403 

Rahman, conspiracy continued to follow conspiracy 
without interruption. Abu-al-Aswad, the surviving 
son of Yusuf , imprisoned at Cordova, had, under pre- 
tence of blindness, deceived his keepers and escaped 
by swimming the Guadalquivir. Incredulous at first, 
the guards subjected him to every test they could de- 
vise, all of which he endured with remarkable patience 
and without a murmur. The imposture was carried on 
for months, and in consequence of his supposed afflic- 
tion he was less carefully watched, and was indulged 
with many unusual privileges. One morning, while 
bathing with other prisoners in the river, he took ad- 
vantage of a favorable opportunity, and swam to the 
opposite shore without having been observed. His 
friends met him, provided him with clothes and a 
horse, and a few days found him safe in Toledo. In 
this city, the seat of Berber and Yemenite intrigue, an 
enterprise of great moment was then maturing. The 
chief parties to it were Ibn-Habib, the son-in-law of 
Yusuf, and Al-Arabi, the wali of Barcelona. These 
malcontents had for some time maintained a corre- 
spondence with Charlemagne. The escape of Abu- 
al-Aswad was part of the preconcerted design, his 
noble descent and his sufferings as a captive from 
childhood exciting the sympathies of the populace 
and rendering him an important ally. A treaty had 
already been executed, and presents and compliments 
had been exchanged between the Khalif of Bagdad 
and the Emperor. It was said that a secret under- 
standing existed between these two potentates, and 
that the standard of the Abbasides was to be displayed 
by the insurgents, indirectly in aid of the Christians 
and with the tacit assent of the Moslem sovereign of 
the East. The principal conspirators sought the King 
of the Franks at Paderborn, where he was celebrating 
his triumph over the Saxons by the compulsory bap- 
tism of thousands of these Pagan barbarians. The 

404 History of the 

ambition, the zeal, and the adventurous spirit of the 
Frankish monarch were aroused by consideration of 
the project, and he agreed to invade the Peninsula 
with a large force, which was to be supported by an 
uprising in the North. The plan having been mi- 
nutely arranged, and the role of each conspirator 
assigned to him, the insurgent chieftains took their 

Implacable, indeed, must have been the resentment 
of the Commander of the Faithful, which could thus 
liberally contribute to surrender a territory, acquired 
by such an expenditure of Moslem blood, to the most 
relentless foe of Islam. The chances of success were 
largely in favor of the coalition. The martial supe- 
riority of the Franks had been signally displayed on 
the field of Poitiers over troops more warlike and 
formidable than those which Abd-al-Rahman could 
now bring into action. The country was exhausted 
by half a century of internecine conflict. Frequent 
insurrections had effaced alike the sentiment of 
loyalty and the reproach of treason. An undercurrent 
of disaffection pervaded even the society of the court ; 
and the inconstancy of the Berbers, dangerous in it- 
self, was even less to be feared than the deadly malice 
of tribal hatred, the confirmed habit of resistance, and 
the ruthless vengeance of disappointed ambition. 

The motives which induced Charlemagne to under- 
take this expedition were of a religious as well as of a 
political nature ; but he was impelled less by an ambi- 
tion to rid the country of infidels and to exert the 
powers of compulsory proselytism than by an in- 
satiable craving for territorial aggrandizement and 
military glory. The project was not an original one. 
It had been formed ten years previously by his father, 
and its prosecution had only been prevented by his 
death. The great sovereign so lauded as the champion 
of Catholicism was anything but a zealot. His or- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 405 

thodoxy was strongly suspected by the churchmen of 
his time; in fact, it was whispered that he was more 
than half a Pagan. His public conduct and private 
habits exhibited little evidence of the beneficent influ- 
ence of the Christian virtues. His life was stained 
with deeds of perfidy and violence. The morals of 
his court were proverbial for their laxity, a condition 
to which the monarch himself afforded an unworthy 
example by the practice of extensive concubinage. 
The most intimate political connections were main- 
tained between the courts of Aix-la-Chapelle and 
Bagdad, associations regarded by the devout of the 
age with pious horror. It is therefore absurd to sup- 
pose, as is repeatedly stated by ecclesiastical chroni- 
clers, that the invasion of Spain by Charlemagne was 
mainly undertaken as a crusade, for the Franks were 
actuated by no prejudice against the Saracens as 
Mohammedans, and the relations of their king with 
the Khalifate of the East were more friendly than 
those he entertained towards any European power. 

In the early months of the ensuing spring, the 
forces of Charlemagne were in motion. No impor- 
tant event of the Middle Ages has been more neg- 
lected by contemporaneous as well as subsequent 
historians than this expedition. The accounts of 
Christian writers are so defective and so overloaded 
with fable as to render them, as usual, thoroughly un- 
reliable. The numbers of the invaders were so great 
that they were compelled to separate into two divi- 
sions and pass the Pyrenees by different routes. 
Converging towards Saragossa, the armies were 
united before its walls. The city was in the hands 
of their allies, but at the last moment the hearts of 
the latter failed them, when they considered the sac- 
rifice of religion and the violation of every principle 
of honor and loyalty which a surrender implied. Other 
causes combined to shake their resolution. The re- 

406 History of the 

suits attending the preliminary steps of the conspiracy 
had proved disastrous. The leaders, suspicious of 
each other, were constantly apprehensive of treachery, 
while tribal prejudice and the irreconcilable spirit of 
discord prevented sincere co-operation in any measure. 
Ibn-Habib, the originator of the enterprise, convinced 
of the perfidy of Al-Arabi, and hoping to anticipate 
its results, rashly attacked his ally, was defeated, and 
soon after perished by the hand of an assassin. Long 
imprisonment had unfitted Abu-al-Aswad for decisive 
action, and he failed to meet the requirements of his 
position. Conscious of the miscarriage of their plans, 
discouraged, and apprehensive of the future, the 
garrison of Saragossa refused to open the gates of 
the city. Charlemagne, enraged by this breach of 
faith, made vigorous preparations for a siege. But 
the walls had hardly been invested when a despatch 
arrived announcing that the Saxons were again in 
rebellion, and had already advanced as far as the 
Rhine. The siege was raised, and the Franks retired, 
after an abortive and inglorious campaign, to once 
more defend their homes against the barbarians of 
Germany. The fortifications of Pampeluna which 
city had surrendered at their approach were dis- 
mantled, and the mighty host then defiled, with slow 
and painful steps, through the valley of Roncesvalles. 
The pass grew more and more difficult and obscure, 
encompassed as it was by dense forests and precipitous 
mountains. The advance guard pursued its way with- 
out molestation, and had already reached the northern 
slope of the Pyrenees, when the rear, in whose custody 
was the baggage of the army, became engulfed in 
gloomy ravines, whose shadows concealed thousands 
of Basques lying in ambush. Suddenly the long and 
tortuous line was attacked by swarms of mountain- 
eers. Hemmed in on all sides, the retreat of the 
Franks was cut off. Every advantage of surprise, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 407 

of position, of familiarity with the ground, of experi- 
ence in ambuscade and partisan warfare, was with the 
assailants. Resistance was vain. Bravery profited 
nothing where neither missile nor hand-to-hand 
weapons were available against an active and in- 
visible enemy. The rear guard was absolutely anni- 
hilated. The baggage-train fell into the hands of the 
victors, who, after plundering the dead, quietly dis- 
persed and sought their homes in the inaccessible 
recesses of the mountains. By this catastrophe 
Charlemagne lost nearly half of his army and 
many distinguished officers, among them the famous 
Roland, Prefect of the March of Brittany, whose 
career the poetic genius of bard and troubadour has 
adorned with many a romantic tale and fabulous 

No one reaped any advantage from the Prankish 
invasion except Abd-al-Rahman, whose destruction 
was its avowed object. While the enemy was in 
retreat, he advanced upon Saragossa; the city sur- 
rendered after a short resistance, and Al-Arabi, the 
insurgent chieftain, was assassinated while at prayer 
in the mosque. Before returning, the Emir marched 
into the country of the Basques, where he conquered 
the domain of the Count of Cerdagne, who became a 
tributary of the court of Cordova. Soon afterwards, 
Abu-al-Aswad once more tempted the evil fortune of 
his family by promoting another insurrection, which 
resulted in the defeat of Guadalimar, where he, with 
four thousand of his followers, lost their lives. 

The last years of Abd-al-Rahman were embittered 
by disaffection among his kindred, whose political for- 
tunes he had repaired, and who had been raised to 
wealth and influence by his boundless generosity. His 
nearest relatives conspired against him. Princes of 
the blood and nobles of the highest rank forgot the 
sacred ties of family and tribe in repeated attempts 

408 History of the 

to overturn his power. But the wary monarch, equally 
proof against the schemes of both open and concealed 
hostility, easily triumphed over all his adversaries. His 
armies returned victorious from every campaign. The 
conspirators who plotted in the imaginary security of 
the palace were, sooner or later, betrayed by their 
accomplices, and punished with exemplary severity. 
His rebellious and ungrateful nephew, Ibn-Aban, was 
strangled. His brother, Walid, was exiled. Korei- 
shite chieftains, convicted of treason, after having 
had their hands and feet cut off, were beaten to death 
with clubs. The remonstrances and threats of trusty 
councillors were repressed by banishment and studied 
neglect. Even the services of the faithful Bedr were 
not sufficient to atone for subsequent insolence; his 
property was confiscated, and he was confined in a 
dungeon where he ended his days in penury and dis- 

Warned by the vicissitudes of a life of peril of the 
necessity of providing for the succession, and feeling 
the weight of physical infirmities induced by anxiety 
and exposure, the Emir, a short time before his death, 
summoned the officers of state and the nobles of the 
kingdom to swear allegiance to his third son, Hischem, 
whom he had chosen to succeed him. This ceremony 
performed, and the elder brothers of Hischem, Suley- 
man and Abdallah, having formally renounced their 
claims to the throne, Abd-al-Rahman withdrew to 
Merida, where he died a few months afterwards, at 
the age of fifty-eight, and in the thirty-third year of 
his reign. 

The character of this great prince, gifted as he was 
by nature with the noblest qualities of mind and heart, 
was still materially affected by the circumstances of 
an adventurous career and the sentiments and habits 
of a turbulent age. His tastes inclined to literature 
and art, but necessity developed in him the talents of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 409 

a cautious negotiator and skilful general. Of a gen- 
erous and benevolent disposition, the proscription of 
his family, the perpetual hostility of his enemies, the 
treachery of his kindred, and the ingratitude of his 
friends embittered his spirit, and led to acts of cruelty, 
which, though justified by political expediency, have 
greatly tarnished the lustre of his fame. Reared 
amidst the splendors of the most polished and luxu- 
rious of courts, he bore with singular equanimity the 
reverses of fortune and the evils of abject poverty, 
trials which, by inculcating the virtue of philosophical 
resignation and acquainting him with the failings and 
inconsistencies of humanity, the better prepared him 
for the high and responsible position he was destined 
subsequently to occupy. Even before his power had 
been firmly established, he sent messengers to the 
remote regions of the East to search for the scattered 
members and dependents of the Ommeyades, who 
were conducted to Spain at the public expense, 
granted estates, and not infrequently appointed 
councillors or governors of cities and provinces. 
The versatility of his genius provoked the envy 
and elicited the admiration of his most determined 
foes. While his attention was still occupied by re- 
sisting the encroachments of the mountaineers of 
the Asturias and the suppression of formidable in- 
surrections, he successfully repelled the invasions 
of two powerful and warlike sovereigns in whose 
jurisdiction were included the most opulent and 
productive regions of the globe. Charlemagne, the 
greater of these, offered him the hand of his daughter 
and urged the alliance, which was declined on account 
of his failing health. Fertile in resources, the priva- 
tions and sorrows of youth had taught him to bear 
adversity in silence if not with complacency. Thor- 
ough familiarity with the character of Berber and 
Arab convinced him that the pretensions of the chil- 

410 History of the 

dren of the Desert were incompatible with the sub- 
mission requisite to the exercise of royal authority, and 
he did not hesitate to crush, with a relentless hand, the 
insolence or the presumptuous freedom of a tribesman 
or a friend. Popular at first, this unusual severity in 
time alienated the warmest supporters of his throne. 
Inexorable necessity, the principles of self -protection 
and self-preservation, dependent upon conditions not 
unusual after a protracted period of revolution and 
anarchy, rendered the establishment of a despotism 
imperative. Once founded, it was maintained by an 
army of forty thousand mercenaries, chiefly recruited 
from the barbarians of Africa, enlisted with multi- 
tudes of enfranchised slaves, who were bound to the 
interests of the monarchy by the double tie of depend- 
ence and gratitude. The romantic spirit of adventure 
often impelled Abd-al-Rahman, in the early years of 
his reign, to wander in disguise through the streets 
of his capital; but the animosity engendered by fre- 
quent revolutions soon rendered this diversion too 
hazardous, and he was compelled to adopt the seclusion 
and the military precautions which provide for the 
security of royalty in the kingdoms of the Orient. 
The gradations of official rank, the territorial divisions 
of the empire, the duties of the magistracy, the regu- 
lations of police, were also, with slight modifications, 
framed after the pattern of similar institutions in the 
East. In these details of political organization the 
number twelve and its factors, so popular among 
nations of Semitic origin, were especially prominent. 
The Peninsula was divided into six provinces, each of 
which was subject to the jurisdiction of a military 
governor. Under the control of this dignitary were 
two walis and six viziers, who administered affairs of 
minor importance in their respective districts. These 
officials were assisted in their labors by a host of kadis 
and secretaries, who sent, at stated periods, regular 

Moorish Empire in Europe 411 

reports of their proceedings to the Council, or Divan, 
at Cordova. The available moments of leisure, dur- 
ing a life of almost incessant conflict, were employed 
by Abd-al-Rahman in works intended for the im- 
provement of the masses; in the perfection of regu- 
lations which encouraged the accumulation and per- 
mitted the unrestricted enjoyment of property; and 
in the promotion of educational and literary facilities, 
as well as in the institution of measures upon whose 
enforcement absolutely depended the continuance of 
his power. He repaired the Roman highways that 
traversed the Peninsula. He established a system of 
couriers, with relays of post-horses, for the rapid 
transmission of important despatches. He ruled the 
fierce outlaws of the Peninsula, whose trade was 
rapine, and who considered mercy an indication of 
cowardice, by the only means they respected, the 
government of the sword. They hated and cursed 
him, they plotted against his life, they rejected his 
gifts and spurned his honors, but they obeyed his com- 
mands, for they stood in wholesome dread of his re- 
sentment, and had been taught, by many a bloody 
lesson, the consequences of disputing his authority. 
During his reign, for the first time since the Conquest, 
the nomadic propensity of the Berbers, the source of 
incessant disturbance and universal insecurity, was 
restrained, and these barbarians were compelled to 
conform to the laws and to choose a settled habita- 
tion. A code of judicature, adapted to the circum- 
stances of a population composed of so many diverse 
and often hostile constituents, was framed, in whose 
statutes the useful institutions of the Visigoths were 
recognized under the general predominance of Mos- 
lem law. 

Abd-al-Rahman made frequent excursions through 
his dominions, the better to familiarize himself with 
the conduct of his officers and the necessities of his 

412 History of the 

subjects. His course was marked by charity to the 
needy; by munificent donations for public improve- 
ments; by institutions for the encouragement of the 
arts; by the erection of magnificent palaces and 
temples. But his generosity, ample elsewhere, was 
displayed with unprecedented lavishness in his capital, 
the object of his pride and of his peculiar affection. 
Its plan, its buildings, its fortifications, its suburbs, 
were modelled after those of beautiful Damascus. A 
palm-tree, the first ever seen in Spain, was brought 
from Syria, and planted in the court-yard of the royal 
palace as a memorial of the scenes of his childhood. 
In the environs of the city he laid out a garden, called 
Rusafah, after one formerly possessed by his grand- 
father, Hischem, and of which it was the counterpart. 
A mint was founded in Cordova, whose coins were 
identical in design, weight, and inscription with the 
pieces issued by the Ommeyade princes of Syria. The 
fame of the court and the reputation of the sovereign 
attracted to the Moslem capital of the West the 
learned and the polite of every clime. The spirit of 
literary emulation and philosophical inquiry, which 
attained such a remarkable development under suc- 
ceeding khalifs, began to be awakened. The sov- 
ereign himself composed with facility and correctness 
verses of considerable merit. His sons were provided 
with the best instruction that the age afforded ; were 
compelled to be present during the transactions of the 
Divan and the business of the courts; and were fre- 
quently entrusted with the negotiation of treaties and 
the administration of government. The public taste 
was cultivated by periodical literary contests, in which 
the most accomplished scholars and poets of the day 
participated; where splendid rewards for proficiency 
were distributed; and whose proceedings were in- 
vested with additional prestige by the presence and 
supervision of royalty. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 413 

Neither the brutal skepticism of the court of Da- 
mascus nor the prevalent idolatry and blasphemy of 
Spain seem to have affected the piety of Abd-al-Rah- 
man. Whether induced by motives of interest or by 
sincere belief, it is certain that he ever observed with 
scrupulous exactness the ceremonial of his faith. 
Fully alive to the advantages social, political, com- 
mercial, and religious connected with a splendid 
temple, which, by reason of its magnificence and its 
sanctity, might become a place of pilgrimage, he had 
long meditated the construction of such an edifice, an 
aspiration whose fulfilment was deferred for many 
years by continuous reverses of fortune. The posses- 
sion of the cities of Mecca and Jerusalem by a hostile 
dynasty had vastly increased the difficulties imposed 
upon such Mussulmans of the Peninsula as desired 
to make the arduous journey to the venerated shrines 
of the East. Moreover, the subjects of the Omme- 
yade ruler were regarded with suspicion and dislike by 
the sovereigns of Bagdad; and Abd-al-Rahman had, 
from every pulpit in the realm of the Abbasides, been 
proclaimed a usurper, a rebel, and an impostor. The 
success that finally attended his arms, and insured the 
permanent establishment of his authority, also ren- 
dered possible the realization of a project dictated by 
a more noble and lofty ambition. His political sa- 
gacity detected at a glance the influence such a temple 
would exert over the minds of a highly imaginative 
and superstitious people. Its erection would gratify 
their national pride. Its presence in the midst of the 
capital would consolidate and confirm the power of the 
state. The sentiment of loyalty still entertained by 
the descendants of Arabian exiles for the home of their 
fathers would be transferred to another land, whose 
shrine, if it did not equal that of Mecca in wealth, 
would certainly surpass it in grandeur and beauty. 
" My mosque," said the great statesman, " will soon 

414 History of the 

demand a khalif ; my sons will assume that title ; and 
the dispute between the East and West will be termi- 
nated forever. Our constitution is based entirely upon 
a religious principle, and my subjects will soon accus- 
tom themselves to see nothing beyond my children but 
the eye of Allah and the sword of the Prophet." 

In the turbulent times of the Conquest every place 
of worship possessed by the Christians in Cordova, 
save one, was destroyed. In the cathedral alone, 
whose ownership was insured by treaty, were the in- 
fidels permitted to perform the rites enjoined by their 
creed. In accordance with a custom prevalent in the 
East, where, however, it must be acknowledged, it was 
unusual, under ordinary circumstances, to violate en- 
gagements entered into with Christians, half of the 
cathedral had been forcibly appropriated and conse- 
crated to the service of Islam. It was not many years, 
however, before its limited area was found inadequate 
to the requirements of the crowds of immigrants and 
proselytes that were daily added to the population 
of the growing capital. The location being the most 
desirable in the city, a proposition was made by Abd- 
al-Rahman for the purchase of the remaining half of 
the edifice. The bishop refused, on the reasonable 
ground that no other building would then be available 
for the celebration of the rites of the Christian faith. 
But the importunity of the Emir prevailed in the end ; 
and the Christians obtained for their concessions the 
sum of a hundred thousand dinars, and, in addition, 
the extraordinary privilege of erecting a certain num- 
ber of churches to replace those of which they had 
been deprived by the rage of fanaticism and the 
calamities of war. 

The plan of the mosque was traced by Abd-al-Rah- 
man himself, and the first stone of the foundation 
was laid by his own hands. Oppressed with age and 
physical infirmities, and haunted by a presentiment 

Moorish Empire in Europe 415 

that he would not live to see his work completed, he 
exhausted every effort to accelerate its progress. A 
vast number of laborers were employed. The assist- 
ance of the governors of distant provinces was invoked 
for the collection and transportation of materials. 
The emulation of the artisans was excited by the ex- 
ample of the enfeebled sovereign, who, for one hour 
every day, personally shared the toil of his humble 
companions. The vaults of the public treasury were 
opened without restriction for the benefit of an under- 
taking which appealed alike to the patriotic impulses 
and the religious sentiment of the nation. The work 
progressed with astonishing rapidity, but not fast 
enough to satisfy the feverish impatience of the 
illustrious architect. It was his desire while he yet 
had strength to perform in those sacred precincts, 
as the representative of the Prophet, the simple cer- 
emonial of the faith so dear to the heart of every 
Mussulman. A space was cleared within the enclos- 
ure. An awning was raised, and the unfinished walls 
were hung with tapestry from the palace. There, 
surrounded with heaps of materials, with half- 
chiselled capitals and naked columns, the Emir, in 
his snowy robes of office, ascended the temporary 
pulpit, led the prayers, and directed the devotions of 
a vast concourse assembled from every quarter of the 
Moslem capital. It was the last important act of his 
life. A few weeks later the multitudes who had 
listened with silent reverence to his discourse in the 
Djalma followed his remains to the tomb. 

Thus, his destiny accomplished and his task per- 
formed, died the founder of one of the greatest 
dynasties that Europe has ever known. He pos- 
sessed, in ample measure, the attributes of a wise, a 
politic, an enlightened sovereign. His spirit had been 
chastened and his courage tried by many years of 
persecution and misfortune. The cruelty with which 

416 History of the 

he has been reproached was a necessary consequence 
of the turbulent condition of the society he was called 
upon to govern. The solution of the political problem 
which confronted him was not a mere question of su- 
premacy; it involved the integrity of the Saracen 
domination in the Peninsula and his own existence 
as a ruler and as an individual. Force was the only 
argument used by his adversaries, and the only one 
they respected. The influence of the Koran was 
scarcely felt. The great majority of the inhabitants 
of Spain were Pagans and infidels. The Berbers, who 
largely preponderated, were fetich worshippers and 
believers in witchcraft and sorcery. Years of im- 
punity and unrestricted license had rendered these 
wild barbarians more ferocious in disposition, more 
impatient of control. Public hostility and private 
feuds, the acrimonious disputes between contending 
sects, the alternate proscriptions of successful fac- 
tions, the hope of future revenge, made permanent 
reconciliation impossible. In every community ex- 
isted a large and compact body of enemies, different 
in nationality, antagonistic in faith, firmly united by 
the evils of common misfortune, who entertained, 
under a delusive aspect of submission, dangerous 
aspirations for political and religious liberty. Those 
nearest in blood to the monarch sought, with unnatu- 
ral vindictiveness, the life of their kinsman and bene- 
factor. In the Asturian mountains the power of a 
rising kingdom, established by a band of intrepid 
exiles, had begun seriously to encroach upon the 
Moslem possessions of the North. The arms of the 
most powerful sovereigns of Europe and Asia were 
directed, from the Mediterranean and from the Pyr- 
enees, against a prince whose dominions were agitated 
and whose resources impaired by anarchy and sedi- 
tion. Exasperated by the interference of the Abba- 
sides, he long contemplated an expedition to the coast 

Moorish Empire in Europe 417 

of Syria, a project which the obstinacy of his domestic 
enemies made impossible. Under such conditions 
government by the scimetar was certainly not inex- 
cusable. These considerations demanded also the em- 
ployment of foreign mercenaries. They stimulated 
the vigilance and justified the severity of the judicial 
tribunals. They prompted the cultivation of religious 
sentiments as an auxiliary of royal power by the erec- 
tion of superb houses of worship. They suggested the 
statesmanlike expedient of diverting the attention of 
the populace from scenes of disorder, by the endow- 
ment of public institutions, by the cultivation of the 
arts, by the diffusion of knowledge. 

Abd-al-Rahman was not, by nature, tyrannical. 
He was ever ready to listen to the complaints and 
redress the wrongs of the unfortunate. The most 
bitter partisanship never refused him the attribute 
of strict and impartial justice. If his severity was 
sometimes not tempered by compassion, it was never 
aggravated by deliberate cruelty. In his privacy he 
was affable; in his public conduct dignified; in his 
intercourse with his inferiors the embodiment of 
gentle courtesy. Temperate in his pleasures, the court 
of Cordova never exhibited the disgraceful scenes that 
offended religion and decency in the palaces and gar- 
dens of Damascus. Without him the Ommeyade 
dynasty of the West would never have existed; and 
without that dynasty a large portion of the treasures 
of ancient learning would have been forever lost ; the 
spirit of scientific inquiry would have been crushed 
by ecclesiastical intolerance ; the hopes of intellectual 
freedom suppressed; and the civilization of Europe 
retarded for many centuries. 

From the accession of Abd-al-Rahman I. dates the 
autonomy of Moorish Spain under the Khalifate of 
the West. Its rulers, however, while enjoying all the 
power and attributes of independent sovereigns, and, 

Vol. I. 27 

418 History of the 

as such, requiring the implicit obedience of their 
subjects and the recognition of foreign nations, did 
not, until the reign of Abd-al-Rahman III., publicly 
assume the title of Successors of the Prophet, but 
exercised their despotism under the less conspicuous 
appellation of Emirs, or Governors. Many induce- 
ments led to the adoption of this policy. Moslems still 
generally regarded the regions of the East as the 
source of orthodox belief and the seat of legitimate 
empire. The survivors of the House of Ommeyah 
were under the ban of the dynasty of Damascus and 
Bagdad. The conditions of society in the Peninsula 
were unsettled. Everywhere the slightest pretext for 
rebellion was welcomed with rejoicing by multitudes 
of desperate outlaws and fanatics. Ambitious enthu- 
siasts lost no opportunity of inflaming the public 
mind, only too susceptible to agitation, whenever a 
revolt could increase their gains or contribute to their 
notoriety. The union of Church and State under the 
constitution of Islam made interference with the es- 
tablished order of affairs doubly perilous. The pre- 
mature appropriation of the venerated title of Khalif 
by the exiled Ommeyade princes would have entailed 
the reproach of sacrilege, and might have overturned 
their empire, neither founded on prescriptive right, 
supported by popular affection, nor maintained by 
adequate military force. The assertion of preten- 
sions far less obnoxious to religious prejudice had 
frequently produced serious disorders. By such a 
claim the dignity of the greatest of Mohammedan 
dynasties could receive no accession commensurate 
with the risk it involved. Its princes might well, for 
a time, forego the titles while in full possession of 
the substance of power. Such were some of the 
politic considerations which long retained, in a nomi- 
nally subordinate capacity, the most despotic and 
irresponsible monarchs of Europe. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 419 

The awakening of the national spirit consequent 
upon the civil wars of Spain not only permitted the 
organization of the kingdom of the Asturias, but it 
was also productive of a disaster scarcely less serious, 
the loss of the Moslem possessions in France. From 
the day of his accession, the energies of Pepin were 
devoted to the conquest and expulsion of the Moorish 
colonists of Provence and Languedoc. The treason 
of a Gothic chieftain delivered into his hands the 
principal cities of Septimania, except INTarbonne. 
That capital sustained a siege of more than six 
years' duration, an intense prejudice against the 
Franks inducing the Roman and Gothic inhabitants 
to support the efforts of the Arab garrison; but in 
the end, the popular discontent and the hopeless pros- 
pect of assistance from Cordova impelled the promi- 
nent citizens to propose terms of accommodation with 
the enemy. A capitulation was arranged by which the 
besieged were to be conceded the privilege of govern- 
ment by their own laws, but at the last moment the 
Saracens refused their assent; hostilities were re- 
sumed, and the garrison, greatly outnumbered by the 
Christian mob, was annihilated. For forty-one years 
the laws, the customs, and the religion of the Moslems 
had prevailed in Southern France. The traces of 
their domination, as disclosed by the physical and 
mental characteristics of the peasantry, have not been 
effaced by the vicissitudes of more than a thousand 
years. This temporary occupation, as will be seen 
hereafter, was also productive of a marked effect upon 
the manners and the polite literature of Europe, 
through the diffusion of Hispano-Arab culture, the 
influence of the lays of the troubadours, and the adop- 
tion of the laws of chivalry. The intercourse with the 
Khalifate of Spain, suspended for a period, was re- 
newed; relations of even closer intimacy were estab- 
lished; a community of ideas, tastes, and sympathies 

420 History of the 

developed sentiments of mutual esteem ; and the char- 
acteristics of the brilliant and intellectual society of 
Cordova were reflected in the refined voluptuousness, 
the extensive learning, and the polished skepticism 
that subsequently distinguished the courts of the Albi- 
gensian princes. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 421 




Custom of Royal Succession violated by the Will of Abd-al- 
Rahman Accession of Hischem Revolt of Suleyman and 
Abdallah They are routed and their Armies dispersed 
Clemency of the Emir Invasion of Septimania Defeat of 
the Franks Indecisive Results of the Campaign Public 
Works of Hischem His Noble Character His Partiality 
for Theologians The Southern Suburb of Cordova Death 
of Hischem General Distrust of Al-Hakem Suleyman 
and Abdallah again in Rebellion Civil War The Gothic 
March Siege and Capture of Barcelona Apathy of the 
Emir Importance of the Conquest The Edrisite Dynasty 
Disturbances at Toledo " The Day of the Ditch" The 
Royal Body-Guard Revolt of the Faquis Its Results 
League of the Asturians and Frankish Princes Legend 
of St. James the Apostle Death of Al-Hakem His 

In designating his favorite son, Hischem, as his 
successor, Abd-al-Rahman unconsciously laid the 
foundation of endless and irreconcilable domestic 
feuds, in addition to the manifold causes of political 
discord already existing between the antagonistic 
elements which composed the population of the 
Peninsula. The hand of despotism had suppressed 
the manifestations of popular discontent, but it was 
evident that this suppression was only temporary. 
The normal condition of Arab and Berber, by tradi- 
tion, by inheritance, by practice, was one of haughty 
independence, of open defiance of established au- 
thority. The dictates of political wisdom, as well as 
the experience of the civilized nations of ancient 
times, had demonstrated beyond dispute the advan- 

422 History of the 

tages of the law of primogeniture. That law, while 
not recognized by the Moslem constitution, had been 
adopted for the sake of expediency, and in time was 
confirmed by custom and precedent. The choice of 
his heir was tacitly left to the sovereign, to be ratified 
by the homage of the great officers of the kingdom ; a 
mere formality whereby a concession was made to the 
prejudices of the tribesmen, but which was, in fact, 
devoid of political significance. The omission of this 
ceremony would not have affected the investiture of 
the heir, nor have impaired the validity of his title; 
it would only have afforded a plausible pretext for 
some ambitious chieftain to foment an insurrection. 
Several reasons combined to induce Abd-al-Rahman 
to prefer Hischem to his elder brethren. His mother, 
the beautiful Holal, was his favorite concubine. She 
had been presented to him, in an interval of peace, 
by his old adversary Yusuf , and had from that hour 
acquired a great influence over him. Hischem was 
born in Spain, while his brothers Suleyman and Ab- 
dallah were natives of Syria, a fact which it might 
be presumed would the more readily secure to the 
former the attachment of his subjects. But the 
principal reason that determined the choice of Abd- 
al-Rahman was his knowledge of the mental and 
moral superiority evinced by the character of His- 
chem. His life was in strong and favorable con- 
trast with those of his brothers. They were idle, 
dissipated, and frivolous. While their houses were 
constantly filled with a mob of buffoons and dancers, 
his hours were passed in the society of the learned 
and the wise. He had enjoyed the best educational 
advantages to be obtained, and had diligently profited 
by them. He had repeatedly displayed his capacity 
for government under trying circumstances, and his 
presence of mind and courage in more than one 
bloody field. His precocious sagacity and wisdom, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 423 

the affability of his manners, the piety of his life, the 
gentleness of his disposition, were the delight of the 
court and the envy of his companions. The arbitrary 
selection of Abd-al-Rahman, dictated by affection 
and policy and sanctioned by Mohammedan custom, 
was justified by the prosperous reign of Hischem; 
yet, by establishing a dangerous precedent in the 
polity of the Western Khalif ate, it was, in no trifling 
degree, responsible for its ultimate overthrow. In 
this respect, however, its history is but the counter- 
part of that of every other Moslem power. The ideas 
dominating the various constituents of the society of 
Islam were incompatible with either the just subordi- 
nation of classes or the permanence of empire. 

The exigencies of the time demanded the talents 
of an active and resolute sovereign. The fiery pas- 
sions of the people, hitherto restrained by fear, 
awaited only a favorable occasion to break out into 
rebellion. On every side were indications of future 
trouble, the agitation of the populace, the ambition 
of pretenders, the rivalry of sects, were plainly 
visible to the discerning eye under a deceptive appear- 
ance of order and tranquillity. The allegiance of the 
walis of the eastern frontier, always precarious, was 
becoming daily more unreliable. Their distance from 
the seat of government, their proximity to the land 
of the Franks, their aspirations for independence, and 
their control of the passes of the Pyrenees, all con- 
siderations of vital political importance, while they 
increased their arrogance at the same time weakened 
their fidelity. The disasters which had heretofore 
attended the active interference of the Abbasides in 
the affairs of the Peninsula had inculcated a salutary 
lesson; but the court of Bagdad was not intimidated 
by the checks it had sustained, and the resources of 
intrigue and the influence of gold were constantly 
employed to enlist the services of the Christians and 

424 History of the 

to corrupt the integrity of the officers entrusted with 
the defence of strongholds, whose possession would 
facilitate the destruction of the rival dynasty which 
had wrested from the Commander of the Faithful 
one of the richest portions of his inheritance. To add 
to the difficulties of the situation, the kingdom of the 
Asturias, whose existence was due to the internecine 
strife of its enemies rather than to the talents of its 
rulers or the valor of its people, now began to disclose 
nascent evidences of that power which subsequently 
attained such a prodigious development. 

Hischem, who was governor of Merida, was pro- 
claimed Emir of Spain at that city as soon as the 
obsequies of his father had been performed. Already 
well known to and beloved by his subjects, the public 
prayer, repeated from the mimbar of every mosque, 
seemed the announcement of an era of national pros- 
perity and happiness. But these anticipations were 
sadly delusive. As soon as information of Abd-al- 
Rahman's death reached Cordova, Suleyman, who 
happened to be in that city, left his lodgings, took 
possession of the palace, and endeavored to obtain the 
support of the mob of the capital. Failing in this, he 
quietly retired and joined his brother Abdallah at 
Toledo, where they concerted measures for the depo- 
sition of Hischem and the partition of his dominions 
between them. The vizier of Toledo, Ghalib-Ibn- 
Zeman-al-Tafeki, having been approached by the 
conspirators, not only proved faithful to his trust 
but menaced the princes with the vengeance of the 
Emir, an act which cost him his office and his liberty. 
A messenger having been sent by Hischem to ask 
the cause of this harsh treatment of an old and faith- 
ful servant, Suleyman, by way of response, caused 
the vizier to be brought from his dungeon and im- 
paled in the presence of the envoy. Justly inter- 
preting this outrage as a mortal defiance, Hischem 

Moorish Empire in Europe 425 

proclaimed his brothers rebels; denounced the pen- 
alties of treason against all who should countenance 
them ; and having summoned the walis of the various 
provinces to his aid, took the field at the head of an 
army of twenty thousand men. The rebels had suc- 
ceeded in raising a force almost equal in numbers, 
which, commanded by Suleyman, already had ad- 
vanced some distance towards the South. A battle 
was fought near the Castle of Boulk; the insurgents 
were beaten, and the Emir invested Toledo, whose 
garrison, defended by strong fortifications and en- 
couraged by the intrepid spirit of Abdallah, offered 
the prospect of a long and tedious siege. 

Collecting the remnants of his defeated army, 
Suleyman descended upon the plains of Andalusia, 
ravaging its settlements with fire and sword. Abd- 
al-Melik, Governor of Cordova, having encountered 
him near Sufenda, the rebels were again routed and 
dispersed; and Suleyman, apprised that the entire 
resources of the kingdom were being employed for 
his destruction, escaped with difficulty through the 
mountain-passes into the province of Murcia. In the 
meantime, the condition of the besieged in Toledo had 
become desperate. The successive defeats of their 
companions had disheartened the garrison ; the supply 
of provisions was diminishing; the assaults upon the 
fortifications were incessant; and, Suleyman being a 
fugitive, no hope of relief could now be entertained. 
Abdallah, in his extremity, determined to throw him- 
self upon the mercy of the brother he had wronged, 
and to solicit in person the pardon he so little deserved. 
Leaving Toledo, he passed through the lines of the 
enemy under the protection of a safe-conduct of an 
envoy, whose character he had assumed for the occa- 
sion, and proceeded to Cordova, whither Hischem had 
gone a short time before, the better to observe the 
movements of Suleyman. The amiable disposition 

426 History of the 

of Hischem was not proof against the appeal of his 
penitent brother; he received him with open arms; 
and both returning to Toledo, the gates were opened 
by the order of Abdallah, whose followers were 
granted a general amnesty, while* he himself received 
a princely estate in the vicinity of the city as a pledge 
of complete reconciliation and oblivion of the past. 
The fierce and intractable spirit of Suleyman, how- 
ever, prompted him to once more try the doubtful 
chances of war. Among the dense population of 
Murcia were thousands of adventurers, whose preda- 
tory instincts had never been mitigated by the influ- 
ences of civilization. These, allured by the promises 
of Suleyman, enlisted with alacrity under his stand- 
ard. A considerable force was already assembled 
upon the fields of Lorca when, in the absence of their 
general, the advance guard of the Emir's army, under 
Al-Hakem, his son, a boy in years but, as it soon be- 
came evident, a man in courage and military ability, 
appeared before the rebel camp. Although his com- 
mand was greatly inferior in numbers, the young 
prince charged the insurgents with such impetuosity 
that they gave way after a short and bloody struggle ; 
and when Hischem arrived with the main body, the 
field was clear of all except the dead and dying. 
Suleyman, now thoroughly discouraged, made over- 
tures for pardon, which was granted, conditional upon 
his perpetual exile. His estates were purchased by 
Hischem for the sum of seventy thousand mithcals of 
gold; and the rebellious prince retired to Tangier, 
where, safe from molestation, he regularly maintained 
a treasonable correspondence with his old companions 
in arms, watching anxiously for a favorable oppor- 
tunity to assert his claim to the throne of the emirate. 
While these events were transpiring in the West 
and the attention of Hischem was engrossed with the 
conspiracy of his brothers, serious disturbances had 

Moorish Empire in Europe 427 

arisen elsewhere. Said-Ibn-Husein, the wali of Tor- 
tosa, refused to recognize, or even to admit within 
the city, an officer whom the Emir had appointed to 
succeed him. The wali of Valencia was ordered to 
seize and punish the rebellious governor, but the cun- 
ning of the latter led his adversary into an ambus- 
cade, where he was killed and his followers were put 
to flight. Encouraged by the success of Ibn-Husein, 
the walis of Barcelona, Saragossa, Huesca, and Tar- 
ragona proclaimed their independence, and entered 
into an offensive and defensive alliance against the 
Emir. The new wali of Valencia, Abu-Othman, more 
skilful, or more fortunate, than his predecessor, ex- 
perienced but little difficulty in suppressing an insur- 
rection which at first promised to be formidable. The 
armies of the rebels were defeated; the heads of all 
who were captured by Abu-Othman were sent to 
Cordova, and the successful general, after receiving 
the thanks and congratulations of his sovereign, was 
ordered to the Pyrenees, there to await reinforcements 
and make preparations for an invasion of France. 

The fortunate .results which had hitherto attended 
his measures, and the knowledge that the unruly tem- 
perament of his subjects constantly demanded the 
excitement of arms, determined Hischem to divert 
to the annoyance of his enemies that active and men- 
acing spirit which had recently been exerted to his 
own prejudice and to the imminent peril of his crown. 
And, in addition to these considerations, inducements 
were not wanting which might afford a powerful 
stimulus to his political ambition. The pecuniary 
resources of his kingdom were far greater than those 
which his father had controlled. Increasing com- 
merce and the sense of public security derived from 
a centralized government had rendered the burden of 
taxation more endurable. Long and unintermitting 
service in the field had created a body of soldiers, pa- 

428 History of the 

tient of discipline, devoted to the interests of their 
sovereign, and accustomed to conquer. To each suc- 
ceeding ruler of the Peninsula, from the time of 
Musa, had been bequeathed as imperative religious 
obligations, the extension of territory subject to trib- 
ute, and perpetual war with the infidel. A thirst for 
revenge was now added to the original incentives of 
ambition and proselytism, a desire to wipe out, by a 
series of fresh triumphs, the memory of past reverses, 
and to inflict a long deferred retaliation for fright- 
ful misfortunes endured by the routed armies of 
Islam. The D jihad, or Holy War, was proclaimed 
simultaneously from the pulpit of every mosque in 
the Emir's dominions. To the promotion of the cru- 
sade, every Moslem was bound by the law of the 
Koran to contribute in proportion to his means, by 
donations of money, military supplies, provisions, or 
personal service. The martial tribes of the Penin- 
sula, to whom war was a diversion, flocked eagerly to 
the standard of the empire. One army, forty thou- 
sand strong, desolated the settlements of Galicia, de- 
feated Bermudo, King of the Asturias, and returned 
laden with booty and accompanied by thousands of 
captives. Another penetrated the depths of the Pyr- 
enees, seized the passes, and, either by force or nego- 
tiation, secured the temporary neutrality of the 
Basques. During the ensuing year, diligent prepa- 
rations were made for the reconquest of Septimania, 
whose capital, Narbonne, long the seat of Moslem 
power in the south of France, had now, for almost 
thirty years, been held by the infidel. The city of 
Gerona, recently taken by the Franks, was stormed, 
pillaged, and its inhabitants remorselessly butchered. 
This stronghold a place of great strategic impor- 
tance, whose possession by the enemy might seriously 
interfere with the movements of either a successful 
or a defeated army having been recovered, the way 

Moorish Empire in Europe 429 

was open to the Valley of the Rhone. The time was 
most favorable for the prosecution of such an enter- 
prise. The attention of Charlemagne was engaged 
by the seditions of the discontented barbarians of 
Germany. Louis, King of Aquitaine, was in Italy, 
where he had gone to assist his brother, Pepin, hard 
pressed by the Lombards. The country was in a 
practically defenceless condition; drained of its 
troops; deprived of its sovereign; with a population 
which, for the space of almost a generation, had not 
been accustomed to the use of arms, or had experi- 
enced the calamities of invasion. The Saracens met 
with few impediments. No organized resistance was 
attempted. The atrocities inseparable from savage 
warfare marked every step of their progress. 
Flushed with success, the victorious army advanced 
on Narbonne. The defences of that city defied the 
efforts of the besiegers, but the suburbs were taken 
and laid waste. 

The Moslems now moved forward on the road to 
Carcassonne. At the river Orbieu, near Narbonne, 
they encountered a force of peasants and militia 
which William, Duke of Toulouse, had collected in 
the desperate hope of checking their advance. The 
valor of this hero, who has been canonized by the 
Church, and whose achievements are, like those of 
Roland, the theme of mediaeval ballad and legend, 
was unavailing against the furious onset of the Ber- 
ber cavalry. The half -armed mob was put to flight; 
but the victors, intimidated by this unexpected ap- 
pearance of an army, and fearful of losing their 
plunder, decamped without attempting further hos- 
tilities. It would appear from the most probable ac- 
counts to be derived from the confused and obscure 
chronicles of the age that a considerable portion of 
the territory of the Franks remained for some years 
in the hands of the Saracens. 

430 History of the 

About this time another army, commanded by Abd- 
al-Kerim, invaded Galicia and the Asturias. Little 
resistance being offered, the Moslems penetrated the 
country in every direction. The harvests were de- 
stroyed, and the peasantry massacred or driven into 
captivity. The churches were burned to the ground. 
Encumbered with booty, the invaders on their return 
fell into an ambush and sustained a crushing defeat. 
The plunder was retaken, and their principal officers 
were left on the field of battle. This reverse more 
than counterbalanced the advantages derived from 
the expedition into France, and it effected much 
towards the consolidation of the power of the Chris- 
tian kingdom. 

An incredible amount of booty in gold, silver, and 
precious merchandise was obtained in Septimania, not 
a little of which was found in the churches and 
other ecclesiastical establishments which abounded 
everywhere. The royal fifth alone, acquired by this 
foray, amounted to forty-five thousand pieces of 
gold, all of which was set apart to be expended in 
the completion of the Great Mosque. The pride of 
the Moorish commander, Abd-al-Melik, exacted of 
the innumerable captives who followed in the train 
of his army an arduous and extraordinary service. 
They were forced to carry upon their shoulders, or 
drag in wagons, the stones which had formed the 
walls encircling the suburbs of Narbonne. From 
these blocks, thus painfully transported from a coun- 
try distant many hundred miles, through the steep 
passes of the mountains, was constructed the founda- 
tion of the eastern part of the Great Mosque of Cor- 
dova. In the exertion of this seemingly useless and 
tyrannical act of authority, Abd-al-Melik was not 
impelled by a feeling of mere bravado, nor by a de- 
sire to inflict suffering upon the unfortunate. It 
was a proceeding in perfect accord with the genius of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 431 

the Moslem character. Those stones, squared per- 
haps by Roman masons in the days of Augustus, 
were tangible and enduring trophies of conquest. 
The boundaries of contiguous kingdoms have ex- 
panded or shrunk; language, religion, and manners 
have changed; populous cities of the Peninsula have 
disappeared ; important settlements have arisen in the 
midst of marsh and desert; the mementos of ancient 
warfare are represented only by a few battered and 
broken weapons ; but the massive stones of Narbonne, 
rendered doubly sacred from the touching legend of 
their conveyance by the unwilling hands of Christian 
captives, still, after the expiration of more than eleven 
centuries, support the walls of the proudest temple 
ever dedicated to the God of Islam. 

To the completion of this magnificent edifice the 
energies of Hischem were now directed. Following 
the pious example of his father, he labored daily upon 
its walls. He lived to see it finished, after the ex- 
penditure of one hundred and sixty thousand dinars, 
and, although sumptuous in itself, the building of 
Abd-al-Rahman and his son was greatly inferior in 
splendor and beauty to the additions and improve- 
ments subsequently made to it by their successors. The 
public spirit of Hischem did not, however, confine his 
efforts to the completion of the Djalma. He rebuilt 
the bridge across the Guadalquivir, which had again 
fallen into decay. He erected many structures to 
embellish his growing capital and to promote the con- 
venience of its inhabitants, luxurious palaces, baths, 
mosques, and fountains. He encouraged the plant- 
ing of orchards and the cultivation of gardens in the 
suburbs, and this rational and healthful employment 
formed one of his favorite recreations. In his char- 
acter the religious sentiment preponderated, not a 
little tinctured, in common with the most ignorant of 
his subjects, with the folly and weakness of super- 

432 History of the 

stition. Early in his reign he consulted a famous 
astrologer, who announced, as the result of his horo- 
scope, a life of but few years' duration, but prosper- 
ous and full of glory. The communication of this 
prediction had unquestionably much to do with its 
fulfilment. The manners of Hischem, already grave 
and dignified, became, for a Mohammedan prince, 
strangely ascetic. He discarded the splendid vest- 
ments of royalty, and invariably appeared clad in 
simple white, the distinctive color of his family. His 
leisure was devoted to the investigation of grievances, 
to the aid of the oppressed, to the consolation of the 
afflicted, to the support of the indigent. Neither the 
inclemency of the season nor the inconvenience of 
darkness was suffered to interfere with his errands of 
mercy. He visited holy men at midnight in the midst 
of torrents of rain. In person he distributed alms to 
the homeless, whom want had impelled to seek shelter 
under the arcades of the mosque. He walked unat- 
tended through the streets, and did not disdain to enter 
the hovels of the poor and bestow words of comfort 
upon such as seemed abandoned by the world. He 
was the first of his line to establish a system of mu- 
nicipal police to insure the safety of the capital. The 
fines collected for breaches of the peace he disbursed 
in charity. In the imposition of taxes he earned the 
gratitude of his subjects by only exacting the tithe 
prescribed by Mohammedan law. Under his paternal 
administration the widows and children of soldiers 
killed in battle were pensioned. He ransomed from 
his private purse all Mussulmans held in captivity, and 
so thorough was his search and so successful his efforts 
in this direction, that during his reign a wealthy citizen 
having left by will a large sum for the liberation of 
slaves held by the Christians, the bequest reverted to 
the heirs, as no such slaves could be found. The in- 
flexible justice of Hischem was a prominent trait of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 433 

his character. He refused to purchase a house for 
which he had been negotiating when he learned that 
one of his neighbors desired it; and, aware that re- 
spect for the dignity of the sovereign would induce 
his competitor to withdraw, he abandoned without 
hesitation the coveted property to the latter. In the 
conduct of complex and doubtful affairs of govern- 
ment Hischem justified the discernment of his father, 
which had selected him to the prejudice of his elder 
brethren. His courage and firmness inspired the 
fear and respect of his enemies. He frequently de- 
spatched emissaries to the courts of the walis, em- 
powered to examine into their official conduct and to 
hear the complaints of their subjects. By the liber- 
ality he displayed in the construction of public 
edifices, he awakened the emulation of the rich, who 
vied with each other in the luxurious adornment 
of their palaces and the picturesque beauty of their 
gardens. He inherited from his father a predilection 
for science combined with a taste for the cultivation 
of letters ; and, in his opinion, the permanent benefits 
to be derived from literature and the arts were far 
preferable to the transitory pleasures of sensual grati- 
fication. The prediction of the astrologer, which to 
eight years had prescribed the duration of his reign, de- 
veloped in a mental constitution naturally inclined to 
morality a sentiment of deep reverence for everything 
connected with religion. Partly with a view to the 
fusion of races and the reconciliation of hereditary 
enmities, but chiefly in the hope of their eventual con- 
version, he made the use of the Arabic tongue obliga- 
tory in the schools of Jews and Christians; thus, in 
his zeal for proselytism, violating the wise tolerance 
which the Koran accords to tributary infidels. By 
this act of profound statesmanship he unconsciously 
effected in a few years a political and social revolu- 
tion, which, under ordinary conditions, many genera- 

Vol. I. 28 

434 History of the 

tions would not have sufficed to accomplish. No isola- 
tion is so thorough as that which is caused by the 
preservation and use of an unfamiliar idiom. Even 
the social alienation induced and maintained by the 
observance of religious practices regarded as heretical 
is not so deep or persistent. By the compulsory 
adoption of the language of the conquerors, the tribu- 
tary sects became daily better acquainted with the 
creed, the characteristics, and the opinions of their 
masters. Their prejudices contracted through igno- 
rance were gradually dispelled amidst the require- 
ments of business and the courtesies and recreations 
of familiar intercourse. The Christian learned to 
esteem the Moslem; the Moslem, by degrees, enter- 
tained less contempt for the Christian. An apprecia- 
tion of each other's virtues, mutual concessions, and 
hopes of prospective advantage soon produced closer 
relations in trade, intermarriages, and the formation 
of intimate and durable friendships. Proselytism to 
the faith of Islam once an occurrence as rare as it 
was abhorrent at last became so common as scarcely 
to excite remark. The Gothic costume was super- 
seded by the turbans and flowing robes of the Orient. 
The harems of the rich and powerful were ruled by 
favorites born in Teutonic and Roman households. 
The customs of the latter were those of the Desert. 
Their surroundings had nothing in common with the 
traditions of their ancestry or the memories of their 
youth. Their children knew no other tongue but 
Arabic. The lasting consequences of this law of 
Hischem, in the partial amalgamation of three races 
and the seal it impressed upon their product, are to- 
day manifested in the swarthy complexions, the gut- 
tural accents, the grace and dignity of bearing which 
distinguish the peasantry of Northern Andalusia, 
who, living near the capital of the khalifate, the 
more readily obeyed the mandates of its court, and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 435 

were the more susceptible to the influence of its 

Unfortunately for the future tranquillity of the 
Peninsula, Hischem was a fast friend of the theo- 
logians. His most intimate associates were chosen 
from the faquis, half-priests, half-lawyers, whose 
studies were divided between the elucidation of sacred 
traditions and the interpretation of the principles of 
jurisprudence. Discouraged by the firm policy of 
Abd-al-Rahman, this order had assumed a sudden 
and ominous importance under the favorable auspices 
of his successor. It was an era of unprecedented re- 
ligious excitement in the domain of Islam. New sects, 
with whose organization and maintenance politics had 
often quite as much to do as theology, were forming 
everywhere. One which had obtained great popu- 
larity and was destined eventually to be included in 
the four recognized by true believers as orthodox had 
been recently founded at Medina by the famous doc- 
tor, Malik-Ibn-Anas. A bond of union, based on 
antipathy to a common enemy, was soon established 
between the Oracle of Medina and the monarch of 
Spain. Notwithstanding his claims to pious consid- 
eration as the founder of a new theological school, 
Ibn-Anas had been suspected of encouraging the 
pretensions of a descendant of Ali of the detested 
sect of the Schiites to the throne of the Abbasides. 
Either from insufficiency of evidence, or through fear 
of insurrection, the Khalif of Bagdad had not im- 
posed sentence of death upon the offender, but he had 
ordered him to be scourged, which punishment had 
been inflicted with every accompaniment of brutality 
and insult by the zealous officials of the Hedjaz. 
Conscious of his influence, and consumed with rage 
and hatred, the venerable fanatic bore his injuries 
like a martyr, concealing under an appearance of 
resignation the fury of his implacable resentment. 

436 History of the 

Abhorrence of his oppressors led him to turn for 
sympathy to the Ommeyades, whose princes, like 
himself, had experienced the relentless persecution 
and insatiable vengeance of the tyrants of Damascus 
and Bagdad. The noble character of Hischem was 
not unknown to the inhabitants of the Holy Cities. 
The admiration of the Medinese doctor for the Emir, 
perhaps increased somewhat by a desire to profit by 
past humiliation, and to indirectly disparage his 
enemies, became extravagant. He lost no occasion 
of praising him as a pattern of the kingly virtues, 
and went so far as to declare publicly that he, of all 
the princes of Islam, was the only one worthy of the 
undivided honors of the khalif ate. On the other hand, 
Hischem entertained the greatest respect for the theo- 
logian, whose doctrines he adopted and sedulously en- 
deavored to propagate throughout his dominions by 
every inducement to which the human mind is sus- 
ceptible. The Malikites were among those highest in 
his confidence. They administered the most respon- 
sible employments of Church and State. They were 
entrusted with important commands in the army. 
The Emir afforded every facility to such as desired 
to pursue their studies under the eye of the great 
interpreter of the law, and these, at their return, were 
received with every mark of respect and considera- 
tion. In consequence of this impolitic favoritism, the 
Malikites soon obtained a preponderating and dan- 
gerous influence in public affairs. The sect was domi- 
nated by a limited number of shrewd and ambitious 
faquis, whose opinions, received by the ignorant as 
infallible, were supposed to be prompted by divine 
inspiration, and whose wild fanaticism was justly 
regarded by themselves as the most efficient means 
for the attainment to supreme power. Neither the 
Berbers, nor the Arabs of pure blood, seem to have 
embraced the new doctrine with any great degree of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 437 

enthusiasm. Its most ardent champions were the 
renegades, apostates from Christianity, or the de- 
scendants of converted tributaries and slaves. The 
obligations of no particular creed were recognized as 
paramount by these careless proselytes, born and bred 
in an atmosphere of turmoil and revolution, and to 
whose impulsive and fickle natures the heat of con- 
troversy incident to the promulgation of a new be- 
lief and the excitement of a foray were equally 
acceptable. Mutual sympathy and the ambitious 
designs of their leaders suggested the association 
and residence of these sectaries in quarters where 
their power could be most advantageously employed 
in times of sedition. One of these localities was the 
southern suburb of Cordova, separated from the city 
by the Guadalquivir. It was one of the most attrac- 
tive and beautiful portions of the capital. Its popu- 
lation exceeded twenty thousand souls. Its markets 
were filled with all the evidences of a widely extended 
and profitable traffic. Through its gates were con- 
veyed the larger proportion of the provisions con- 
sumed by the inhabitants of the metropolis and no 
inconsiderable part of its merchandise obtained from 
the rich provinces of the East. These were trans- 
ported from the suburb to the bazaars by means of 
the stupendous bridge constructed by the Csesars and 
remodelled by Al-Samh and Hischem. The level 
surface bounded by the left bank of the Guadalquivir 
was more favorable for building than the inequalities 
of the ground on the north and west. The streets 
were wider than those elsewhere; the markets more 
commodious ; the mosques and villas not less sumptu- 
ous and elegant. A belt of beautiful gardens trav- 
ersed by walks of pebbles laid in mosaic and cooled 
by the spray of countless fountains, amidst whose 
verdure nestled the pleasure-houses of the wealthy 
encircled the entire suburb. Here was the stronghold 

438 History of the 

of the Malikite sect, the increasing power and in- 
solence of whose spiritual guides were preparing for 
their wretched dupes a day of unspeakable calamity. 

Eight years from the date of the horoscope had 
been declared by the astrologer to be the limit of the 
life of Hischem. The strength of his intellect was 
not sufficient to reject a prediction which was univer- 
sally accepted by a credulous and superstitious race 
with the same reverence that, in ancient times, at- 
tached to the mysterious response of an oracle. A 
pattern of religious virtue, he had long disciplined 
his mind to obey, without repining, the inevitable de- 
crees of fate, and the prospect of an early death, while 
it seriously disconcerted his plans, could not disturb his 
equanimity. As the time set for the accomplishment 
of the prophecy approached, the Emir assembled the 
Great Council of the realm to swear fealty to his son, 
Al-Hakem, who was to succeed him. This ceremony 
concluded, he addressed the young prince in the fol- 
lowing words, which are far better calculated than any 
eulogy to describe his own character: " Dispense jus- 
tice without distinction to the poor and to the rich, be 
kind and gentle to those dependent upon thee, for 
all are alike the creatures of God. Entrust the keep- 
ing of thy cities and provinces to loyal and experi- 
enced chieftains; chastise without pity ministers who 
oppress thy subjects; govern thy soldiers with mod- 
eration and firmness; remember that arms are given 
them to defend, not to devastate, their country; and 
be careful always that they are regularly paid, and 
that they may ever rely upon thy promises. Strive to 
make thyself beloved by thy people, for in their 
affection is the security of the state, in their fear 
its danger, in their hatred its certain ruin. Protect 
those who cultivate the fields and furnish the bread 
that sustains us; do not permit their harvests to be 
injured, or their forests to be destroyed. Act in all 

Moorish Empire in Europe 439 

respects so that thy subjects may bless thee and live 
in happiness under thy protection, and thus, and in 
no other way, wilt thou obtain the renown of the most 
glorious of princes." 

Early in the following spring Hischem expired, 
after a short illness, in the fortieth year of his age. 
His reign had not been distinguished by great military 
enterprises, nor by measures that indicated the posses- 
sion of more than ordinary talents for the require- 
ments of politics or the art of government. But 
although his administration was not brilliant it was 
eminently successful. He had checked the impetu- 
ous ardor of the Asturians. He had invaded and 
ravaged with impunity the provinces of the most 
illustrious and powerful monarch in Europe. He 
had thwarted the repeated attempts of desperate ad- 
venturers to overturn his throne. He had gained the 
applause of his enemies by his clemency, and won the 
admiration of his friends by his generous treatment 
of his rebellious kinsmen. No unfortunate was so 
degraded as to be unworthy of his notice, no sufferer 
too obscure to be the recipient of his bounty. By the 
enforcement of judicious regulations he had accom- 
plished much towards the removal of those social and 
political barriers which separated the races and men- 
aced the prosperity of his kingdom. By his influence 
and example he gave fresh impulse to the cultivation 
of letters. The universal sorrow manifested by all 
classes at the news of his death announced the depth 
of the esteem and affection everywhere entertained 
for his character. 

It was with ill-concealed anxiety that the subjects 
of the emirate expected the first act of the adminis- 
tration of Al-Hakem. It is true no one doubted his 
ability. His military prowess had already been dem- 
onstrated, for, while yet a boy, he had at the head 
of an inferior force annihilated the army of his uncle 

440 History of the 

on the plains of Lorca. The prophetic sagacity of his 
father, in accordance with the custom of his princely 
line, had early familiarized him with the functions of 
a ruler by his employment in offices of grave respon- 
sibility. His education had been entrusted to the best 
scholars of the time, and he had proved an apt and 
intelligent pupil. The fortuitous but important ad- 
vantages of personal beauty and a distinguished pres- 
ence were not wanting to this heir to the glory and 
the misfortunes of the Ommeyades. Yet, though 
reared in the publicity of a court and habituated to 
the transaction of official business, little was known of 
the disposition and the private opinions of Al-Hakem. 
A stolid apathy and an impenetrable reserve effectu- 
ally concealed his emotions. His feelings never re- 
laxed even in the presence of his most intimate asso- 
ciates, upon whom, moreover, his confidence was 
grudgingly bestowed. But the veil which enveloped 
his character could not hide the fact that he was 
irascible, arrogant, vainglorious, and cruel. The 
event proved that the apprehensions of the shrewd 
observers who regarded his accession with manifest 
uneasiness and distrust were not entirely without 

It was the practice of the Ommeyades with the ad- 
vent of a new sovereign to change the ha jib, or high 
chamberlain, whose duties and authority coincided 
with those of a prime minister, or chief dignitary of 
state. For this responsible employment, Al-Hakem 
selected Abd-al-Kerim, son of Abd-al-Walid, who 
had filled the position under his father. Eminent 
for bravery and learning, and versed in all the ac- 
complishments of the age, Abd-al-Kerim had, from 
childhood, enjoyed the friendship and shared the 
amusements of his master. This choice was accepted 
as a happy augury of the future conduct of the new 
ruler, and contributed greatly to allay the fears of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 441 

those who had questioned his intention and his ability 
to control the fiery passions of youth, which the pos- 
session of irresponsible power offered no induce- 
ments, save those enjoined by the precepts of mo- 
rality, to restrain. His qualities as a politician and 
a general were destined to be soon put to the test in 
the suppression of an extensive insurrection, the pre- 
lude of an unquiet and sanguinary reign. His uncle, 
Suleyman, had long meditated, in the security of ex- 
ile, designs against the crown, which he considered his 
birthright. His royal lineage, great wealth, and 
affable demeanor had gained for him a host of ad- 
herents among the adventurers and banditti who in- 
habited the city of Tangier and infested its environs. 
Their ambition was excited by magnificent promises, 
and their cupidity stimulated by the prospect of a con- 
test whose prizes were the acquisition of untold wealth 
and the exercise of boundless license. The gold of 
Suleyman had corrupted many dissatisfied officials 
and a majority of the Berber chieftains. The mo- 
ment so long awaited by the conspirators had now 
arrived. Abdallah, secretly leaving his estate at 
Toledo, joined his brother at Tangier. The details 
of an uprising were arranged, and every resource was 
employed to insure the success of the enterprise. Ab- 
dallah made a rapid journey from Tangier to Aix- 
la-Chapelle. The object of this embassy has never 
been disclosed, but from the result it is easy to con- 
jecture its import. The aid of Charlemagne was 
solicited and obtained, and the co-operation of the 
walis of Barcelona and Huesca assured. The King 
of Aquitaine, with every mark of honor, escorted the 
Moslem prince to the base of the Pyrenees, and the 
latter in a few days was once more in the midst of the 
seditious populace of the ancient Visigothic capital. 
The measures of the rebel leaders were well taken. 
Simultaneously with the delivery of the citadel of 

442 History of the 

Toledo to Abdallah, through the treasonable con- 
nivance of its governor, Suleyman landed at Valencia 
with a powerful army, and, founding his pretensions 
on the right of primogeniture, proclaimed himself 
Emir of Spain. Al-Hakem, hearing of the revolt 
of Abdallah, had hastened to Toledo with the flower 
of the Andalusian cavalry and invested its walls. The 
lines had hardly been formed, however, when intelli- 
gence was received that Louis, King of Aquitaine, the 
son of the great emperor, had retaken Gerona, the 
key of the Pyrenees, and, aided by the defection of 
the walis of Lerida and Huesca, had already over- 
run a large part of the provinces of the Northwest. 
Charlemagne, eager to avenge the slaughter of Ron- 
cesvalles, as well as to extend the limits of his empire, 
had placed under the command of his son the picked 
troops of his army, veterans of a score of campaigns 
on the Danube and the Rhine. Recognizing the peril 
of the situation, and aware of the importance of pre- 
venting the union of this new enemy with those 
who were throwing his kingdom into confusion, 
Al-Hakem promptly abandoned the siege and 
advanced by forced marches to the valley of the 
Ebro. But the Franks had already retired. The 
details of their operations, scarcely mentioned in the 
annals of the time, throw no light upon their motives ; 
but it is clear that the results of the expedition did 
not correspond with the magnificence and complete- 
ness of its preparations or with the hopes entertained 
of its success. An extreme caution, akin to timidity, 
seemed to take possession of the conquerors of the 
Saxons, the descendants of the heroes of Poitiers and 
Narbonne, as soon as the frowning barrier of the 
Pyrenees was left in their rear. 

The presence of Al-Hakem revived the dormant 
enthusiasm of his subjects. Gerona, Huesca, Lerida, 
were recovered. Barcelona, whose perfidious gov- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 443 

ernor, Zaid, after soliciting the protection of Charle- 
magne and paying homage to his son, had refused 
to admit the Franks into the city, now, with every 
demonstration of loyalty, threw open its gates at the 
appearance of his lawful sovereign. 

The energy of Al-Hakem, seconded by the ac- 
tivity of his squadrons, in a short time reduced to 
obedience the entire territory which had been overrun 
by the Franks. Carried irresistibly on by his martial 
ardor he crossed the Pyrenees, and, by an unexpected 
stroke of good fortune, seized jSTarbonne, whose gar- 
rison he massacred and whose inhabitants he led into 
captivity. Elated by victory and laden with spoil, he 
left his trusty lieutenants, Abd-al-Kerim and Ibn- 
Suleyman, in charge of the frontier, and, with a force 
largely increased bj^ the fame of his successes and the 
hope of rapine, once more directed his march towards 
Toledo. In the meantime, Suleyman had effected a 
junction with Abdallah on the banks of the Tagus. 
Indecision and a spirit of indolence seem to have pre- 
vailed in their councils, for, instead of making a di- 
version which might have still further embarrassed the 
movements of Al-Hakem and have perhaps changed 
the result of the conflict, they remained inactive, 
expecting the conclusion of the campaign with the 
Franks, until the approach of the Emir roused them 
from their lethargy. Fearful lest their hastily assem- 
bled and undisciplined levies of barbarians and mal- 
contents might not be able to withstand the attack of 
the veterans of the regular army fighting under the 
eye of their sovereign, the insurgents left in Toledo 
as commander Obeidah-Ibn-Hamza, one of the most 
able officers in their service, who had surrendered the 
city and was continued in power as the reward of 
his infamy, and withdrew, after some desultory and 
indecisive engagements, into the province of Murcia. 
Here the veneration attaching to the name of Abd-al- 

444 History of the 

Rahman, and the personal popularity of Abdallah, 
secured for the rebellious brothers a great accession 
of strength and a corresponding increase of confi- 
dence. Entrusting Amru, one of his officers, to 
prosecute the siege of Toledo, Al-Hakem pressed 
forward in quest of the rebels, and resolved, if pos- 
sible, to bring the contest to a speedy termination. 
But again the courage of the insurgents failed them, 
and they sought the protection of the mountain fast- 
nesses, where the Andalusian horsemen could not 
follow. For months the struggle was protracted, and 
the force of the Emir, impatient under inaction, began 
to be diminished by desertions. At length the rebels, 
whose supplies of provisions had been intercepted, 
ventured forth from their stronghold. In the plains 
of Murcia, not far from the field where Al-Hakem 
had won his first laurels in a victory over one of his 
present antagonists, a bloody battle was fought. The 
issue at first was doubtful, as the insurgents contested 
the ground with all the energy of desperation; but, 
at a decisive moment, the throat of Suleyman was 
pierced with an arrow, and, by his death, the spirit 
of his followers was broken. The slaughter that 
followed was long remembered as remarkable even 
amidst the butchery that disgraced the civil wars of 
Spain. The survivors were dispersed beyond all pos- 
sibility of reorganization; and Abdallah, by an early 
withdrawal from the field, succeeded in reaching 
Valencia, where, disheartened and thoroughly peni- 
tent, he implored the forgiveness of his injured sov- 
ereign. With a magnanimity that did credit alike to 
his sagacity and his sentiments of affection, Al- 
Hakem accepted the submission of his uncle, but 
insisted upon his permanent retirement to Tangier 
and the surrender of his two sons, Esbah and Kasem, 
as hostages. The latter were treated with kindness 
and with the distinction due to their rank; a regular 

Moorish Empire in Europe 445 

pension was assigned to them ; and during the second 
year of their residence the younger was raised to an 
honorable employment, and the elder, having received 
the daughter of the Emir in marriage, was appointed 
governor of the important city of Merida. 

While the operations of the war were languidly 
pursued in the South, the energy and resolution of 
Amru began to tell severely upon the besieged in 
Toledo. The inconstant populace, weary of per- 
petual alarms and threatened with famine, made their 
peace with the representative of the Emir by the 
surrender of the city and the sacrifice of their gen- 
eral. The treacherous Ibn-Hamza was promptly 
executed, and his head sent by a courier to Al- 
Hakem; the affairs of the city were regulated with 
all possible expedition; and Amru, leaving his son 
Yusuf in command of the garrison, departed with all 
his available battalions to reinforce the army of his 
sovereign, then at Chinchilla. 

The serious disturbances which had for three years 
employed the resources and monopolized the attention 
of the Emir of Cordova presented to the hereditary 
and natural enemies of Islam an opportunity too 
favorable to be neglected. In 798 an alliance was 
concluded between Alfonso the Chaste and Charle- 
magne, but whether on equal terms or contingent on 
the vassalage of the Asturian king is uncertain. The 
Moslem governors of the frontier cities again re- 
nounced their allegiance to Al-Hakem, and, under an 
assurance of support and independence, rendered 
homage to Louis as their suzerain. The enterprising 
genius of Charlemagne, instructed by the costly lesson 
taught nearly a quarter of a century before in the 
pass of Roncesvalles, had abandoned, so far as the 
Peninsula was concerned, all ideas of permanent con- 
quest and occupation. Experience had conclusively 
demonstrated that the contentions of factions, as well 

446 History of the 

as the antipathies of race, became temporarily but 
effectually reconciled in the presence of a foreign 
enemy. But while his armies had not been able to 
obtain a foothold south of the Pyrenees, or even to 
traverse the defiles of that mountain chain in safety, 
no such difficulties seemed to attend the movements of 
the Moslems, whose flying squadrons plundered and 
ravaged without resistance the distant provinces of 
his empire. These important considerations, and the 
apprehension that some skilful Arab captain might 
recover and retain the fertile valleys of the South, the 
traditions of whose people recalled with pleasure the 
dominion of their ancient Mohammedan masters, im- 
pelled the Emperor to found and maintain a bulwark 
which would be available to harass the enemy as well 
as to break the force and retard the advance of an 
invading army. With this object in view a princi- 
pality was founded on the Spanish side of the Pyr- 
enees, which was given the name of the Gothic March, 
and its first lord, a Frankish noble named Borel, re- 
ceived his investiture from, and did homage to, the 
King of Aquitaine. 

Insignificant at first, this embryo state speedily in- 
creased in power and consequence. The domain in- 
cluded within its boundaries had for years been the 
scene of bloody insurrections, of incessant anarchy, 
of partisan warfare. Its lands were untilled. Its 
inhabitants feared to venture beyond the walls of their 
cities. Its communications with the central govern- 
ment, always precarious, were often completely in- 
terrupted for months at a time. But as soon as com- 
parative protection and safety were assured by the 
occupancy of the Franks a striking change became 
apparent in the condition of the country. The ruined 
fortifications were repaired. The habitual perfidy of 
the walis, tempted by the prospect of greater free- 
dom, induced them once more to transfer their alle- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 447 

giance to the enemies of their faith. By the donation 
of extensive grants of territory, and the promise of 
unusual franchises and privileges, a host of colonists 
was attracted to the settlements of the new princi- 
pality. The fields reclaimed from desolation again 
assumed the attractive prospect of cultivation and 
prosperity. The Gothic March became the refuge 
not only of such Christians as were discontented under 
Moslem rule, but of all those whose grievances led 
them to renounce allegiance to the King of the As- 
turias or to the chieftains of Biscay. Not a few were 
allured by the hope that here might arise a monarchy 
which, founded by the descendants of its ancient 
masters, would restore the laws, the prestige, and 
the glory of the Visigothic empire. Such was the 
origin of the state soon to be known as the County 
of Barcelona, a name of profound import in the sub- 
sequent history of the Peninsula. Its foundation 
was the second step towards the weakening of the 
Moslem power, and one scarcely inferior in political 
results to the establishment of the kingdom of the 

The chief towns of the new principality were Au- 
sona, Cardona, Manresa, and Gerona. None of these 
were seaports, and the sagacity of Charlemagne per- 
ceived and appreciated the necessity of securing 
maritime communication with his dominions to ob- 
viate the possible isolation of the Gothic March, 
either through the inclemency of the seasons or the 
vigilance of his enemies. He therefore projected an 
expedition against Barcelona, which possessed an in- 
different but available harbor, and whose commercial 
rank already afforded many indications of the impor- 
tance to which it afterwards attained. Its situation 
and the intrigues of its walis had previously acquired 
for it a nominal independence. The present gov- 
ernor, Zaid, had constantly alternated between pro- 

448 History of the 

testations of loyalty to Al-Hakem and solicitations of 
protection from Charlemagne. The King of Aqui- 
taine having appeared before the walls with a numer- 
ous army, Zaid, with plausible excuses, protracted the 
negotiations looking to the delivery of the city until 
the approach of winter rendered a siege impracticable. 
Hassan, the wali of Huesca, also declined to admit 
the Franks, although he was the sworn vassal of 
Louis; and that disappointed prince, who had pic- 
tured to himself an easy and profitable termination 
of the campaign, was forced to retire with ignominy, 
amidst the murmurs of his dissatisfied soldiers, to the 
security of his own dominions. 

The Grand Council of the empire, held according 
to the custom of the Franks every spring, met in the 
beginning of the year 801 at Toulouse. The object 
of these national assemblies was the discussion and 
settlement of future military operations, as deter- 
mined by the arguments and the experience of the 
veteran warriors whose influence decided their delib- 
erations. The abortive results of preceding enter- 
prises had provoked the impatience rather than 
damped the ardor of the Frankish chieftains, and 
the unanimous voice of the Council tumultuously 
demanded the capture of Barcelona. Before the 
close of the year an immense army, which is desig- 
nated by vainglorious chroniclers as composed of 
many distinct nations, emerged from the defiles of 
the Pyrenees. The vanity of Louis, which had suf- 
fered through the unprofitable issues of former cam- 
paigns, or possibly the entreaties of his lieutenants 
who knew his incapacity, induced him to remain at 
Rousillon until the event of the expedition could no 
longer be doubtful. The invading force was mar- 
shalled in two divisions, one, under the Count of 
Gerona, pressed the siege of the city, and the other, 
commanded by William, Count of Toulouse, was sta- 

Mooeish Empire in Europe 449 

tioned as a corps of observation between Lerida and 
Tarragona to prevent any attempt at relief by. the 
Moslems of Cordova. The fortifications were fear- 
lessly attacked and obstinately defended. Zaid, the 
wali of the city, abandoning the vacillating and trea- 
sonable conduct which had so long obscured his char- 
acter, conducted the defence with an intrepidity and 
a resolution worthy of the greatest military heroes. 
Animated by his example, the garrison repulsed the 
storming parties, one after another, with great 
slaughter, although these were directed by the 
Frankish general in person. The losses sustained 
in these assaults impelled the besiegers to resort to 
the tedious but more certain measure of a blockade. 
The lines were drawn so tightly that the inhabitants 
soon began to experience the pressure of hunger. 
While the port does not seem to have been closed, 
still no supplies were sent to the suffering garrison 
by the government of Cordova. Many of the in- 
habitants perished; the remainder were reduced to 
contend with each other for the vilest and most re- 
volting means to sustain their failing strength. They 
devoured the refuse of the streets. They fought 
desperately for fragments of the leathern curtains 
which hung before the doorways of their houses. 
Some in despair threw themselves from the walls. 
Others rushed headlong upon the weapons of the 
enemy. But despite the harrowing scenes of univer- 
sal misery, there was no whisper of surrender. Even 
the Christians, who were numerous, took their turns 
upon the battlements and crossed swords with their 
co-religionists in the breach. No one believed that the 
Emir would abandon, without an attempt at relief, a 
city whose commercial advantages and geographical 
position rendered it one of the keys of his empire. 
At length a new army, commanded by King Louis 
himself, reinforced the besiegers. The distress of the 

Vol. I. 29 

450 History of the 

garrison was increasing daily, and, his resources ex- 
hausted, Zaid determined to endeavor to reach Cor- 
dova and by a personal appeal to Al-Hakem obtain 
means to relieve the city. The intrepid governor, 
issuing unattended from a secret postern by night, 
had almost succeeded in penetrating the enemy's lines 
when the neighing of his horse gave the alarm and he 
was captured. These depressing events exerted their 
influence on the besieged, but their constancy and 
courage still sustained them. At length, after several 
breaches had been made in the walls, and the Mos- 
lems, decimated in numbers, had been reduced to de- 
spair, negotiations were opened with the Franks. The 
most favorable terms obtainable involved the loss of 
property and the hardships of exile. The gates were 
finally thrown open, and a long and melancholy pro- 
cession of unfortunates, tottering with weakness and 
emaciated by famine, upon whose faces were stamped 
the signs of protracted suffering, filed painfully 
through the camp of the enemy; and the Frankish 
chieftains, preceded by the ministers of the Christian 
faith arrayed in all the pomp and splendor of their 
order, entered the city, to celebrate before the altar 
of its principal temple the triumph by which the most 
important province of Eastern Spain had passed for- 
ever from beneath the Moslem sceptre. 

The Christian population welcomed its change of 
masters with no manifestations of joy or enthusiasm. 
A gloomy silence pervaded the crowds lining the 
streets, as the prelates in gorgeous vestments and the 
men-at-arms in glittering steel swept by in majestic 
procession, to solemnize, with every circumstance of 
ecclesiastical ceremony and military ostentation, the 
fortunate termination of their enterprise. In the 
early ages of Islam the beneficent and tolerant rule 
of the Moor seems to have universally won the respect 
and inspired the confidence of conquered nations and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 451 

hostile sectaries alike. For the happy conditions pro- 
moted by the exercise of the generous principles of 
equity and religious freedom, the ignorance, tyranny, 
and intolerance of a foreign hierarchy offered no ade- 
quate compensation. From the hamlets of Provence 
to the plains of Andalusia, the tributary Christians, 
save only such as were invested with the dignity of 
the sacerdotal order, appear to have always beheld, 
with unconcealed regret, the discomfiture and dis- 
placement of their infidel lords. 

Well apprized of the uncertainty and difficulty of 
retaining his conquest, Louis repaired as well as cir- 
cumstances would permit the walls of Barcelona, 
which had sustained considerable damage from the 
mines and military engines of his soldiery. A gov- 
ernor of Gothic race was left in command of a well- 
appointed garrison, and, his object finally attained, 
the King of Aquitaine retired from the scene of such 
devotion, self-sacrifice, and valor. The heroic Zaid, 
after receiving the reproaches and vituperation of his 
conqueror, who, actuated by some unknown motive, 
condescended to spare his life, was condemned to 
perpetual banishment, and henceforth disappears 
from history. 

The introduction of the Feudal System into Spain 
practically dates from the capture of Barcelona by 
the army of Louis. That system had long before 
been instituted in France. Its germs, as yet unde- 
veloped, had appeared in many of the regulations of 
the Visigothic constitution. But the minutely defined 
and mutual obligations of vassal and lord, and the 
exact nature of the allegiance due from the noble to 
his prince as suzerain, had been neither established by 
prescription nor formulated by law. Nor did its rules 
ever acquire among the independent races of the 
Peninsula the force and extent accorded to them else- 
where. The humiliating seigniorial rights claimed and 

452 History of the 

exercised by the dissolute barons of England, France, 
and Germany were never imposed upon the brave and 
self-respecting peasantry of Spain. It was long be- 
fore the hereditary transmission of fiefs was fully 
recognized in that country. 

North of the Pyrenees the duties of feudalism, once 
assumed, could never be relinquished. In Castile and 
Aragon the vassal could renounce the service of one 
protector for that of another, if he had previously 
surrendered all property received from the former 
or its pecuniary equivalent. This establishment of 
feudal institutions in the Gothic March not only 
assured the permanence of its conquest, but gave the 
Franks an influence in the affairs of the Peninsula as 
advantageous to the promotion of Christian success 
as it was prejudicial to the continuance of Moslem 

The loss of Barcelona was, as soon became evident, 
a catastrophe of signal importance, whose conse- 
quences seriously affected the prestige and dimin- 
ished the strength of the Moorish empire in Spain. 
No explanation has ever been adduced to account 
for the surprising indifference or culpable neglect of 
Al-Hakem in allowing the enemies of his faith and 
his dynasty to wrest from its brave defenders one 
of the most considerable and prosperous cities in 
his dominions. A mysterious silence pervades the 
ancient chronicles in regard to the reasons for his 
conduct, so extraordinary; so at variance with the 
energy of his character ; so detrimental to the interests 
of his kingdom; so destructive to his hopes of future 
greatness. Experience had proved him to be en- 
dowed with many of the qualities of a daring and 
active leader. From his very youth, the excitement 
of war had been to his fiery spirit a favorite and ex- 
hilarating pastime. His resources were unlimited, his 
army well equipped and numerous. So far as we 

Moorish Empire in Europe 453 

have any information, the remainder of his kingdom 
was at peace. In case the Christian host was too 
powerful to encounter in battle, the sea offered a 
broad and unobstructed highway for the transporta- 
tion of supplies and reinforcements. Time was not 
wanting, for the siege lasted seven months. Whether 
the menacing attitude of the King of the Asturias, or 
some obscure domestic sedition, which, obscured by 
the crowning exploit of the Frankish crusade, has 
escaped the notice of historians, is responsible for this 
apparently unaccountable and suicidal apathy, must 
remain forever a matter of conjecture. But what- 
ever was the cause, the misfortune was irreparable. 
The iron grasp of the Frank never slackened its hold. 
The colony became a principality, the principality a 
kingdom, which, in time, consolidated with other prov- 
inces into the monarchy of Aragon, led the van of the 
Christian armies in the War of the Reconquest. 

All authorities agree, however, that the Emir was 
on the point of marching to the relief of Barcelona 
when information reached him of its surrender. Un- 
willing to disband his army without an attempt to at 
least partially regain his lost prestige, he proceeded 
to Saragossa, and then, following the course of the 
Ebro, succeeded in retaking Huesca, Tarragona, and 
some other places of inferior importance. The rebel 
chieftains, Hassan and Bahlul, to whose treasonable 
artifices is mainly to be credited the loss of Eastern 
Spain, were captured and beheaded. No demonstra- 
tion was made before Barcelona, a fact that would 
seem to suggest either the inferiority of the troops 
in numbers and equipment or the prudence or fears 
of their commander. 

The religious enthusiasts of the capital had seen, 
with alarm and disgust, the accession of Al-Hakem. 
While not eminent for piety like his father, he, on 
the other hand, had manifested no particular hostility 

454 History of the 

to the theological faction. Its members, however, 
were not his favorites. He was devoted to amuse- 
ments and practices abhorrent to the principles openly 
preached and secretly neglected by these rigid pre- 
cisians. His frequent intoxication, a vice which out- 
raged public opinion and provoked the contempt of 
the conscientious Moslem, made the palace the scene 
of orgies that were the reproach and the scandal of 
the capital. From childhood he had been immoder- 
ately devoted to sensual indulgence. The pastime of 
the chase, which involved the employment of animals 
declared unclean by the Koran, occupied no small part 
of his leisure. A ferocious temper, an exaggerated 
idea of his authority, an implacable spirit, and a mer- 
ciless severity in the infliction of punishment for even 
trifling offences increased the terror with which he 
was regarded by noble, peasant, and theologian. But 
these sins were venial when compared with the indif- 
ference with which he treated the saints and the 
doctors upon whom Hischem had bestowed distin- 
guished honors and unbounded confidence. Those 
who had formerly been entrusted with important 
secrets of state, which they were able to use for their 
personal advantage, were now excluded from the 
Divan. Instead of entering the royal presence 
without ceremony, they were compelled to wait 
the pleasure of their master in the antechambers. 
The donations from the public treasury, which had 
been bestowed with unstinted hand upon every 
specious pretext, were now withheld. Degraded 
in the popular estimation, humbled in pride, dimin- 
ished in wealth, derided by the court, but still retain- 
ing the sympathy of the masses, the fanatics of rival 
sects began to overlook their mutual animosity in the 
hope of restoring the vanished importance of their 
order, and to entertain designs against the life as well 
as the government of Al-Hakem. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 455 

The scheming and disappointed Malikite faquis, 
whose ecclesiastical character, assisted by a talent for 
imposture, had caused the multitude to attribute to 
them supernatural powers, were the chief promoters of 
the conspiracy. The prestige of a royal name being 
considered essential to their success, they approached 
Ibn-Shammas, son of Abdallah, and a cousin of the 
Emir, and, finding him apparently favorable to their 
designs, openly tendered him the crown. The ambi- 
tion of that chieftain, however, was not sufficiently 
strong to induce him to compromise his loyalty. Dis- 
sembling his indignation at the presumption of those 
who could think him capable of such flagrant ingrati- 
tude and treason, he demanded a list of the principal 
conspirators as an indispensable condition of his com- 
pliance. The deputation, headed by a faqui named 
Yahya, readily agreed to this, and a night was desig- 
nated when the information would be given. Mean- 
while, Ibn-Shammas informed the Emir of what had 
happened, and when Yahya and his companions were 
introduced into his apartments, Ibn-al-Khada, the pri- 
vate secretary of Al-Hakem, was already there con- 
cealed behind a curtain, and ready to write down the 
names as fast as they were communicated. The list 
included many of the most considerable nobles and 
citizens of Cordova, and the secretary, fearing lest the 
conspirators, to magnify their importance, might 
include his own name among the number, an act which 
would insure his destruction, designedly allowed the 
reed with which he was writing to scratch upon the 
paper. The traitors instantly took the alarm; the 
house of Ibn-Shammas was deserted in a moment; 
all implicated who had time to escape fled precipi- 
tately from the city, and the others, to the number of 
seventy-two, were crucified. 

The year 805 witnessed the institution of an alli- 
ance between the Emirate of the West and the newly 

456 History of the 

founded kingdom of the Edrisites in Africa, destined 
to exercise a marked influence upon the fortunes of 
the former power, and whose close relations in peace 
and war were not finally sundered until the kingdom 
of Granada was incorporated into the Spanish mon- 
archy. Several years previously a noble Syrian 
named Edris, a fugitive like Abd-al-Rahman from 
the persecution of the Abbasides, had sought a refuge 
in the mountain defiles and desert wastes of Western 
Africa. Without friends, money, or influence, he 
nevertheless received a hearty welcome from the 
tribes of the Atlas. His manly traits and chivalrous 
bearing soon secured for him the esteem of his pro- 
tectors, and, from a penniless refugee, he rose by 
degrees to be the chieftain of a clan, the founder of 
a nation, and the head of a dynasty. It was to his son 
and successor Edris that Al-Hakem now sent an em- 
bassy to felicitate him upon his accession, and to pro- 
pose an alliance which might be employed to contract 
the dominions and weaken the power of the detested 
tyrants of the East. The importance of the occasion 
was disclosed by an escort of five hundred Andalusian 
nobles, and the interchange of magnificent presents. 
The embassy was splendidly entertained by the Afri- 
can monarch, and a treaty concluded which, by its 
provisions for mutual support and constant hostility 
against the common enemy, accomplished much to- 
wards the consolidation and perpetuity of the Moslem 
power in the West. Two years afterwards the city 
of Fez was founded. Its population, composed 
largely of Christians, Jews, fire-worshippers, and 
idolaters, excited the wonder and contempt of the 
pious Mussulmans who visited it; and the incessant 
strife promoted by the political adventurers and 
zealots of the various forms of faith, who had estab- 
lished their abode within its walls, augured ill for the 
future peace or prosperity of the Edrisite capital. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 457 

While absent on the expedition to Eastern Spain, 
the mind of Al-Hakem had been disturbed by tidings 
of another outbreak at Toledo. Yusuf, the son of 
Amru, who, through paternal fondness and the par- 
tiality of the Emir, had been exalted to a position to 
the discharge of whose responsibilities his experience 
and qualifications were wholly inadequate, had sig- 
nalized his promotion by flagrant and repeated acts of 
tyranny and insolence. The Toledan populace, sedi- 
tious by inheritance and practice, and which, from 
time immemorial, had been ready to assert, on the 
slightest provocation, the dangerous privilege of re- 
sistance, at the perpetration of some outrage of un- 
usual atrocity ran to arms, attacked the palace, and 
overpowered a detachment of the guard. The prin- 
cipal citizens, dreading the consequences of an insur- 
rection, interposed their good offices between the 
governor and the mob, and, with great difficulty, 
prevented the sack of the palace and the death of 
its master. But the latter, far from appreciating 
either the efforts of his benefactors or the peril which 
he had just escaped, meditated and planned, without 
concealment or precaution, a bloody and merciless 
revenge. Informed of his intentions, the nobles de- 
prived him of his office without ceremony, and threw 
him into prison. A messenger was sent to Al-Hakem 
to acquaint him with the facts, and to explain the 
danger which justified the adoption of such extreme 
and arbitrary measures. The Emir, with every ap- 
pearance of kindness, excused the violence of his sub- 
jects; gave orders for the removal of the obnoxious 
Yusuf; and reinstated, at his own solicitation, Amru 
as wali; the grateful inhabitants returned to their 
avocations, and the city once more assumed the ap- 
pearance of its former tranquillity. 

But the habitual defiance of his authority by the 
Toledans rankled in the breast of Al-Hakem. The 

458 History or the 

city had long been the focus of insurrection, the 
rallying-point of the discontented, the head-quarters 
of every turbulent and ambitious chieftain. Not even 
the metropolis itself surpassed it in its influence on 
the politics of the kingdom. The audacity of its citi- 
zens and the pride of its clergy concurred in support- 
ing its extravagant pretensions to supremacy. The 
limited area enclosed by its walls had always been 
occupied by a dense population, among whose mem- 
bers the Christians largely preponderated, and over 
whose minds the traditions of the Visigothic mon- 
archy exerted a power constantly distrusted and 
feared by every Moslem ruler who exercised jurisdic- 
tion over its territory. The Arab historians have re- 
peatedly asserted, with every appearance of truth, 
that no other body of subjects within the dominions 
of Islam were so infected with the spirit of mutiny 
and disorder as the populace of Toledo. Even the 
descendants of renegades who had renounced their 
creed and their nationality a class whose religious 
zeal and uncompromising fidelity are proverbial 
were not insensible to the time-honored legends and 
historical souvenirs that recalled, on every side, the 
glorious events and vanished grandeur of the ancient 
capital of the Visigoths. The Moslems, who had 
settled principally in the environs, were overawed by 
the insolence of their neighbors, who, although their 
tributaries, maintained all the haughtiness that ordi- 
narily attaches to superior birth and exalted station. 
Once more installed as governor, Amru exerted all 
his tact to allay the apprehensions of the people, who 
feared that his paternal pride might impose upon 
them a heavy penalty for their former disobedience. 
By every expression of solicitude, by every show of 
partiality and consideration, he sought to regain their 
confidence. He privately assured their leaders of his 
approval of, and sympathy with, their efforts to ob- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 459 

tain their independence and resist the imposition of 
tyrannous exactions and unjust laws. He even went 
so far as to denounce the Emir, and to promise his 
own co-operation in case of future unwarrantable 
encroachment upon the lives and liberty of the 
Toledans by the despotic court of Cordova. Thor- 
oughly imposed upon by his duplicity, the masses, as 
well as the nobles and the priesthood, regarded him 
as their benefactor, and bestowed upon their crafty 
governor every mark of honor and esteem. Then, 
instructed by Al-Hakem, Amru represented that, as 
the ordinary practice of billeting soldiers upon the 
families of the citizens was a serious grievance and 
productive of much disorder, this inconvenience could 
be obviated by the erection of a strongly fortified 
citadel, which he suggested would also be of incal- 
culable value in the assertion of popular rights in 
future insurrections. Public approval was readily 
obtained; the fortress rose on the most commanding 
point of the city; the wealthy contributed of their 
means, the poor donated their labor, to aid in its con- 
struction; the advantages of location and the re- 
sources of engineering skill conspired to make its 
defences almost impregnable. A powerful garrison 
was introduced, and Al-Hakem was notified that the 
time had finally arrived for the gratification of his 
long-meditated vengeance. 

A despatch was now sent to the frontier directing 
one of the officers who commanded in that quarter 
to petition for reinforcements, in view of a pretended 
demonstration of the Franks. This was accordingly 
done; and a force of several thousand troops, com- 
manded by the young prince, Abd-al-Rahman, heir 
to the throne, who was assisted by the counsels of 
three viziers of age and experience, marched out of 
Cordova, apparently destined for service in the Pyr- 
enees. When the armv reached Toledo, it was in- 

460 History of the 

formed that the anticipated danger had been exag- 
gerated; that the enemy had withdrawn from the 
vicinity of the frontier, and consequently that all 
prospect of hostilities had disappeared. While en- 
camped in the vicinity, the officers received a visit 
from the governor, who was accompanied by a num- 
ber of the most prominent citizens. The deputation 
was received and entertained with distinction and 
hospitality, and the guests were delighted with the 
politeness, the condescension, and the precocious 
talents of their prospective sovereign, who had not 
yet attained the age of fifteen years. Then, at the 
suggestion of Amru, an invitation was extended to 
the prince to make the city his home until his depart- 
ure, a proposal which was accepted with well-feigned 
reluctance. Preparations were made for a sumptuous 
banquet. In the long list of guests appeared the 
names of the most distinguished nobles, the most 
opulent citizens, the most eminent leaders, who were 
either suspected of disaffection or had openly sig- 
nalized their zeal for the popular cause, either by 
open resistance or by instigation to rebellion. When 
the hour designated for the festivities approached, the 
guests were introduced, one by one, through a postern, 
where they successively fell by the hands of the 
soldiers. As each party arrived, the equipages and 
attendants were sent to the opposite gate of the for- 
tress, there to await the reappearance of their masters. 
An immense crowd, attracted by the novelty of the 
occasion and the presence of royalty, surrounded the 
citadel. Among the spectators, a physician, shrewder 
or more suspicious than his companions, had remarked 
the ominous stillness that reigned within the walls, and 
the fact that of all the guests who had been known 
to enter none had been seen to leave, although the sun 
was now far past the meridian. A bystander directed 
his attention to a cloud of vapor faintly discernible 

Moorish Empire in Europe 461 

above the ramparts as an evidence that the festivities 
had not ceased. The experience of the practitioner 
at once detected the cause, and raising his hands in 
horror, he exclaimed : "Wretch! that is not the smoke 
which proceeds from the preparation of a banquet; 
it is the vapor from the blood of your murdered 

The number of victims of this awful crime is vari- 
ously stated at from seven hundred to five thousand. 
As the bodies were decapitated, they were cast into a 
trench which had been dug during the construction 
of the castle; and from this fact the deed which vio- 
lated the rites of hospitality so sacred in the eye of 
the Arab became known in the annals of the Penin- 
sula as the " Day of the Ditch." 

The next morning the heads of those who, by an 
act of unparalleled treachery, had so severely expiated 
their past offences and the faults of their kindred, 
were ranged in bloody array upon the battlements. 
There was scarcely a household among those of the 
most distinguished residents of the city which was not 
filled with mourning. A feeling of deep but smoth- 
ered exasperation pervaded the community. But the 
object of the tyrant was attained; a lesson of terror 
had been inculcated; the leaders were gone; the 
spirit of insurrection was effectually crushed; and 
many years elapsed before Toledo was again vexed by 
the tumults and the violence of a seditious demonstra- 

About this time a serious difficulty arose at Merida. 
Esbah, the wali of that city, was, as will be remem- 
bered, at once the cousin and the brother-in-law of 
the Emir. For some cause he dismissed his vizier, and 
the latter, by false statements concerning the ambi- 
tious designs of his superior, induced Al-Hakem to 
deprive him of his office and confer it upon himself. 
The wali, indignant at being thus unjustly accused, 

462 History of the 

defied the royal edict; the people, by whom he was 
greatly beloved, espoused his cause; and a formid- 
able rebellion seemed imminent, when the beautiful 
Kinza, the sister of Al-Hakem, succeeded by her 
entreaties in averting the impending calamity. Ex- 
planations were tendered, the incensed and alienated 
kinsmen were reconciled, and Esbah was reinstated 
in his authority amidst the congratulations of his wife 
and the acclamations of the people. 

The habitual distrust of Al-Hakem, his love of 
military pomp, and the knowledge of the turbulence 
and duplicity of a large proportion of his subjects, 
had led him to increase his body-guard to the num- 
ber of six thousand. The impatience of the Arab 
under restraint, as well as his suspicious fidelity, ex- 
cluded him from the select corps entrusted with the 
protection of the life of the sovereign. The lessons 
of experience, and the well-recognized principle of 
despotism which discourages all sympathy between 
the people and the army, suggested the enlistment of 
foreigners and infidels. Three thousand of the guard 
were Spanish Christians, the rest were slaves 
Ethiopian and Asiatic captives purchased in the marts 
of the eastern Mediterranean, who were popularly 
designated mutes on account of their ignorance of the 
Arabic language. Their arms and equipment were of 
the finest and most expensive description. Their dis- 
cipline was as thorough as the tactics of the age could 
inculcate. Two thousand were quartered in extensive 
barracks erected on the southern side of the Guadal- 
quivir, whose banks were constantly patrolled by their 
sentinels. The others, whose numbers were swelled 
by hundreds of eunuchs and retainers of the Emir's 
household, were stationed in the palace, whose de- 
fences were more characteristic of an impregnable 
fortress than of the ordinary abode of a sovereign. 
The great mass of the people, and especially the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 463 

severely orthodox, viewed the establishment of this 
large military force whose existence was a silent re- 
proach to their loyalty and whose opinions were con- 
sidered idolatrous with mingled feelings of hatred, 
jealousy, and contempt. The fierce zealots and eccle- 
siastical demagogues, whose arts had acquired for 
them a dangerous pre-eminence and whose influence 
had been of late years a perpetual menace to the 
government, regarded the royal guards with senti- 
ments of peculiar aversion. The maintenance of this 
splendid body of soldiers, whose expenses far ex- 
ceeded those of an ordinary division equal to it in 
numbers, was a heavy charge upon the treasury. To 
meet the increasing expenditure, a new duty was 
levied upon all merchandise imported into the capital. 
The burdens arising from the imposition of this tax, 
and the inconvenience attending its collection, were 
the most keenly felt by the southern suburb. Of this 
densely populated quarter, fully one-fifth of the in- 
habitants were teachers and students of theology. 
Not only over these, but over the various guilds of 
merchants, tradesmen, and laborers, the authority of 
a few f aquis, who united the qualifications of religious 
instructors with the privileged attributes of saints, 
was despotic. A soldier who ventured alone into the 
stronghold of these desperate fanatics did so at the 
risk of his life. No opportunity was suffered to pass 
whereby indignity could be heaped upon the guards 
of the Emir. The monarch himself was not less un- 
popular. The theological faction constantly made 
unfavorable comparisons between his skepticism and 
luxury and the austere virtues of his father, Hischem, 
whose partiality for their sect had formerly obtained 
for its dogmas the highest respect and consideration. 
The failings and vices of royalty received scant in- 
dulgence at the hands of the Malikites. When, from 
the summit of the minaret, the muezzin proclaimed 

464 History of the 

the hour of public devotion, a hundred voices re- 
sponded in derision from street, bazaar, and garden: 
" Come to prayer, O Drunkard, come to prayer!" 
Aided by the encouragement and sympathy of their 
companions, the culprits foiled without difficulty 
every attempt at detection. Neither the sacred asso- 
ciations of the mosque, nor the moments consecrated 
to divine communion, when the assembly of the faith- 
ful bowed reverently before the Kiblah, nor the pros- 
pect of condign punishment, were sufficient to deter 
fanatical agitators, who prided themselves on their 
piety and orthodoxy, from the perpetration of out- 
rage and insult. They vilified the monarch while in 
the exercise of his sacred duties as the officiating 
minister of Islam. They ridiculed his actions and 
mocked his resentment in the streets. Exasperated 
beyond all endurance, Al-Hakem ordered that ten of 
the leaders should be arrested and delivered to the 
executioner to be crucified. This summary proceed- 
ing, far from allaying the excitement, only intensi- 
fied it. The desire to wreak their vengeance on the 
persecutor of their martyred brethren was now the 
paramount consideration, compared with which the 
prevalence of vice, the evils of taxation, and the 
tolerance of heretics were matters of trifling impor- 
tance. It soon became evident that a serious disturb- 
ance was impending. 

The most influential and dangerous instigator of 
the populace was another Yahya, part knave and part 
zealot, whose learning and effrontery had procured 
for him great renown both as a saint and a politician. 
He had been a pupil and disciple of the famous 
Malik-Ibn-Anas at Medina, and had been distin- 
guished by the favor of that oracle of Islam. The 
fame of his sanctity, and an extravagant idea of his 
attainments and his virtues entertained by the mem- 
bers of his sect, had increased his reputation and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 465 

inflated his pride. His intriguing genius was now 
exerted to precipitate the explosion. 

It was the month of Ramadhan, the Mohammedan 
Lent, and the outbreak had been planned for the last 
Wednesday, a day of ill omen in the Moslem calendar. 
The efforts of Yahya and his coadjutors were being 
constantly exerted to inflame the passions of the popu- 
lace by private exhortations and public discourses 
under the pretext of religious instruction, when a 
quarrel arose between a soldier and an armorer which 
resulted in the death of the latter. In an instant the 
southern suburb was in arms. The contagion of re- 
bellion and vengeance spread fast through the other 
disaffected quarters of the capital. A raging mob 
rolled down upon the citadel, driving before it the 
scattered eunuchs and dependents of the palace and 
the soldiers of the outposts. In vain was the cavalry 
ordered to clear the streets; the veteran troopers of 
the Emir were overwhelmed and driven back in 
confusion. The gates of the castle were closed and 
barred, and the multitude, wild with baffled rage, at 
once prepared, with the aid of fire and heavy timbers, 
to force an entrance. The serious aspect of the situa- 
tion was fully appreciated by the inmates of the 
palace, who knew that in case the fanatics succeeded 
in penetrating the walls not a soldier or servant of 
the royal household would be left alive. As conscious 
of his peril as the rest, not a sign of emotion clouded 
the placid visage of Al-Hakem. While the shouts 
of the mob were resounding through the courts and 
gardens, he ordered his favorite page to bring him 
a bottle of civet. The lad in wonder obeyed, and the 
monarch carefully and deliberately poured the per- 
fume upon his hair and beard. The curiosity of the 
page prevailing over his discretion, he inquired the 
cause of this singular proceeding at a time of such 
imminent danger. ' O son of an unbeliever," re- 

Vol. I. 30 

466 History of the 

sponded the Emir, " how can he who will cut off my 
head distinguish my rank unless by the sweet odor 
that exhales from my beard!" 

His toilet completed, Al-Hakem directed the cap- 
tain of the guard to expose at once upon the battle- 
ments the heads of certain faquis who had been 
imprisoned since the former insurrection. Then, 
clothing himself in complete armor, he summoned 
his cousin, Obeydallah, and ordered him, at the head 
of a picked body of cavalry, to cut his way through 
the streets and set fire to the southern suburb, shrewdly 
judging that the attention of the insurgents would 
be distracted when they perceived that their homes 
were in flames. The event justified his expectations. 
The sudden sally of Obeydallah disconcerted the 
rabble; the river was reached and forded; and in a 
few moments, the smoke rising in twenty different 
places beyond the Guadalquivir announced the suc- 
cess of the stratagem. The insurgents, forgetting 
the animosity to their sovereign in their solicitude for 
their families and their property, rushed in confusion 
over the bridge. Then Al-Hakem fell upon their rear 
with his guards, and Obeydallah, reinforced by de- 
tachments from the neighborhood which had been 
attracted by news of the revolt, assailed them in front. 
Overcome with terror and incapable of resistance, 
the unhappy fanatics were massacred by thousands. 
Three hundred of those conspicuous for their rank, 
or for the part they had taken in fomenting dis- 
order, were nailed, head downward, to posts on the 
bank of the river. A council was then held to deter- 
mine the fate of the survivors. Some of the viziers 
advocated extermination, but milder opinions pre- 
vailed, and it was decreed that the suburb should be 
razed and the inhabitants banished, within three days, 
under penalty of crucifixion. This sentence was ruth- 
lessly executed ; the condemned quarter was delivered 

Moorish Empire in Europe 467 

to pillage and the houses destroyed. The exiles, 
driven from their country, variously experienced the 
effects of both good and adverse fortune. Many 
parties were plundered by brigands before they 
reached the border. Eight thousand families were 
invited by Edris to form a part of the population 
of the new city of Fez, where neither the hospitality 
of their reception nor their subsequent prosperity 
was able to prevent them from indulgence in per- 
petual strife with their neighbors, the Arabs. A 
great body, which included fifteen thousand fight- 
ing-men, was transported by sea to Egypt at a time 
when the country was in arms against the Khalif of 
Bagdad. Forming an alliance with the malcontents, 
they stormed Alexandria; and then, declaring their 
independence, retained possession of that great en- 
trepot of the Mediterranean against all the power 
of the Abbasides for more than twelve years. Finally, 
reduced by the forces of Al-Mansur, they were re- 
moved to Crete, a part of which still acknowledged 
the authority of the Emperor of Constantinople. 
This island they conquered, and they then founded 
a state whose piratical expeditions for more than a 
century were the scourge of the Mediterranean until 
Crete once more, in the year 961, was added to the 
dominions of the Byzantine Empire. A reminiscence 
of the Moslem occupation of the island is suggested 
by its present name, which, a corruption of the Arabic 
khandik, a " trench" or " fortification," survives in the 
name of Candia. 

But while the offences of the populace were thus 
punished with inexorable rigor, the principal offend- 
ers, the promoters of sedition, were the recipients of 
extraordinary clemency. The explanation of this 
partiality is to be found in the fact that the mass of 
the insurgents was of a foreign and, despite their 
bigoted adherence to the orthodox faith, of a detested 

468 History of the 

caste. The religious teachers of the Malikites, on the 
other hand, were largely descended from the Koreish, 
and the ties of blood and the antipathies of race were 
considerations of greater moment in the mind of Al- 
Hakem than the insult to his person or the danger 
to his crown. Some of the leaders who had been 
prominent in the late troubles were permitted to 
escape; others underwent short terms of imprison- 
ment; many received the benefit of a general am- 
nesty. The arch-conspirator, Yahya, was of this 
number, and his talents or his audacity soon restored 
him once more to a certain degree of royal favor. 

The military operations maintained for years in 
Eastern Spain by the ambition of the Franks, the 
treachery of the walis, and the weak and faltering 
policy of Al-Hakem, were not productive of decisive 
action or enduring results. The city of Tortosa was 
twice invested, and twice abandoned in disgrace, by 
the armies of Charlemagne. The first siege was 
raised after a disastrous defeat sustained by the 
Franks, of which the Arabs neglected to take advan- 
tage; the second was undertaken without adequate 
preparation, and relinquished under circumstances 
suggestive of irresolution and cowardice. The hos- 
tilities gradually assumed the character of predatory 
expeditions rather than the systematic efforts of or- 
ganized warfare. The crusading ardor of the new 
colonists of the Gothic March soon abated under the 
tyranny of their feudal masters, who appropriated 
their lands, oppressed them with taxes, and violated 
the rights which had been solemnly guaranteed to 
them conditional upon their allegiance. The justice 
of Charlemagne was invoked to suppress these in- 
creasing disorders, but the distance from his court 
and the arrogance of the nobles enabled the latter 
to practically nullify his edicts. The prsecepta, or 
fueros, addressed to the Counts of the Gothic March, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 469 

and issued from time to time by the Emperor, exhort- 
ing these lords to equity, and defining minutely the 
privileges of their dependents, constitute some of the 
most interesting and remarkable documents of medi- 
aeval jurisprudence. The last three years of the reign 
of Al-Hakem were passed in peace with the Franks, 
under a truce concluded between the courts of Aix- 
la-Chapelle and Cordova. 

The hostilities between the Asturian and Moorish 
kingdoms were, during the reign of Hischem and Al- 
Hakem, prosecuted with energy, but with constantly 
varying success. The Christians had not become suffi- 
ciently strong to provoke with impunity the power of 
the Moslem sovereigns. The attention of the latter 
was so occupied with the suppression of intestine tur- 
moil and ineffectual attempts to counteract the am- 
bitious projects of the Franks that they suffered 
many of the incursions of their infidel neighbors to 
pass unnoticed. Some expeditions that entered the 
Asturias returned in triumph, others were annihilated. 
The forays of the Christian princes spread dismay 
through the Moorish settlements of Galicia and Lusi- 
tania. Occasionally they met with serious reverses, 
but these were generally retrieved in the next cam- 
paign; and when the results of the year were com- 
pared, the advantage was always with the Christians. 
They enlarged their influence and cemented their 
power, by alliances with the Basques, with the lord 
of the Gothic March, with the renowned Charle- 
magne. The limits of their little monarchy, once so 
insignificant, began to extend south of the mountains, 
those natural barriers beyond whose protecting peaks 
and ravines they at first had feared to venture. Con- 
stant practice in warfare formed a race of warriors 
whose prestige increased with their success, and whose 
experience taught them the importance of loyalty, 
obedience, and discipline. Their monarchs were, for 

470 History of the 

the most part, eminently fitted for the arduous duties 
imposed upon them by the accidents of birth and for- 
tune. Of these princes none attained to such emi- 
nence in the pursuits of peace or the art of war as 
Alfonso II., surnamed The Chaste, whose singular 
title has been variously attributed by historians to 
mistaken piety and constitutional impotence. His 
life was one long crusade against the infidel. By 
every resource of diplomacy, by every exertion of 
courage, by every sacrifice of comfort and even of 
independence, he endeavored to promote the interest 
of that cause which was identified with the honor of 
the Christian name. He sent gifts and did homage 
to Charlemagne to secure his aid; and thus, within 
less than a century of its foundation, the Asturian 
monarchy twice became the fief of a foreign power; 
under Alfonso II., whose allegiance was rendered to 
a Christian king in contradistinction to the conduct 
of his predecessor Mauregato, the natural son of 
Alfonso I. and a Berber captive, who had acknowl- 
edged the Emir of Cordova as his suzerain, and whose 
dependence was, in addition to the customary acts of 
fealty, manifested by the humiliating annual tribute 
of a hundred virgins. The arms of Alfonso were 
carried repeatedly beyond the Douro and the Tagus. 
He took and plundered Lisbon, already a flourishing 
city, but its distance from his dominions and the small 
force at his command compelled him soon afterwards 
to relinquish his prize. His desperate valor and his 
superiority in partisan warfare frustrated every at- 
tempt of the Moslems to effect a permanent lodge- 
ment in his dominions. Amidst the excitement of his 
campaigns, he found time to erect churches, to endow 
convents, to enlarge and embellish Oviedo, the capital 
of his little monarchy. The clergy derived liberal 
support and patronage from his devotion. It was 
during this period that the invention of an absurd 

Moorish Empire in Europe 471 


legend produced effects upon the political and relig- 
ious destinies of Spain little anticipated by the un- 
scrupulous ecclesiastics who promulgated it. In an 
unfrequented portion of the wilderness of Galicia a 
mysterious light of celestial radiance, watched by an 
angel, revealed the burial spot and the body of St. 
James the Apostle. The Bishop of Iria, to whom 
posterity is indebted for the discovery of this priceless 
treasure, communicated without delay the intelligence 
of the miracle to his sovereign; and a chapel was 
erected upon the hallowed spot, which, in time, became 
a magnificent temple and a place of pilgrimage for 
thousands of the faithful and the curious from every 
country of Europe. A city sprang up around the 
church, which, by the translation of the Bishopric of 
Iria, at once rose to the greatest importance, and its 
inhabitants were benefited by the trade of the pil- 
grims, as the shrine was enriched with the contribu- 
tions prompted by their piety and their gratitude. 
The simple Asturians never questioned the truth or 
even the probability of the legend; the priesthood, 
who sustained the credit of the fiction by every ex- 
pedient of intimidation and imposture, advanced 
steadily in consideration and wealth, while the mir- 
acles daily wrought by the precious relic confirmed 
its holy character, a relic which surpassed in the 
efficacy of its miraculous virtues the wonderful me- 
mentos of the martyrs which had been rescued from 
obscurity and decay in the catacombs of Rome. Such 
was the origin of the city and cathedral of Santiago 
de Compostella, whose foundation contributed so 
materially to the extension of the Castilian empire 
and the triumph of the Christian religion. Here 
first appeared the germ of that enthusiastic spirit 
partly military, partly monastic which prompted 
the foundation of the numerous orders of knight- 
hood and culminated in the disastrous expeditions 

472 History of the 

for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre. The re- 
tired situation and primitive surroundings of the 
shrine, corresponding with the humble origin of the 
Saint and his mission, increased the popular faith in 
its genuineness and sanctity. The fact that the relics 
were spurious and their discovery a fable was wholly 
indifferent so long as the reverent credulity of the 
masses remained unshaken. The hope of salvation, 
the religious aspirations of the devout, the increase 
in prestige of the hierarchy, were all centred in the 
pretended tomb of the Apostle. The apparition of 
the Saint upon his white charger in the critical mo- 
ments of battle roused the faltering courage of the 
champions of the Cross on many a doubtful field, and 
it may safely be asserted that neither the policy of 
the wisest statesmen nor the victories of the most 
accomplished generals of any reign effected more for 
the glory of the Spanish arms than did the fabrication 
of a preposterous legend by an obscure prelate in the 
savage and almost unknown region of Galicia. 

The uniform success of the piratical excursions of 
the Saracens, originated under the rule of the emirs 
and continued by the Ommeyades, promised the ad- 
venturous aspirant for glory and wealth a more cer- 
tain and less hazardous career than the military pro- 
fession. The Moorish corsairs spread terror through 
the harbors and along the coasts of the Mediterranean. 
They reduced to final subjection the Balearic Isles. 
They plundered Corsica, established a temporary 
settlement in Sardinia, and threatened the environs 
of the most opulent seaports of Italy. But the fasci- 
nations attaching to the reckless profession of the 
pirate were more congenial with the spirit of the 
Arab than the slower and less brilliant results which 
must have proceeded from the maintenance of an or- 
ganized maritime power, and the Moslem princes seem 
never to have seriously considered the construction of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 473 

a navy which might, with comparatively little exertion 
or expense, have acquired for them the undisputed 
dominion of the seas. 

The closing years of Al-Hakem were passed in the 
seclusion of the harem, where, diverted by the com- 
panionship of the beauties of his seraglio, amidst the 
excitements of intemperance and of every species of 
debauchery, he endeavored to forget the sinister 
events of his checkered career and the manifold acts 
of cruelty which had avenged the crimes and errors 
of those who were unfortunate enough to incur his 
resentment. The controlling maxim of his policy had 
always been that mildness was synonymous with cow- 
ardice, and that the people must be governed by the 
sword alone. To the adoption and enforcement of 
this principle are to be attributed the frequent mas- 
sacres and executions of his reign. He was the first 
Moorish sovereign of Spain who established a stand- 
ing army, that menace to popular liberty and indis- 
pensable support of despotism. The safety and 
health of his soldiers were secured by the erection of 
commodious barracks ; by the collection of provisions 
and military stores in extensive magazines and ar- 
senals; by the enforcement of a system of perfect 
and rigorous discipline. His guards, composed of 
slaves alien to the people and devoted to their master, 
were the prototypes of the Janizaries and the Mame- 
lukes, whose pride and insubordination were long 
subsequently productive of such disasters to the 
monarchies of Turkey and Egypt. The mental con- 
stitution of Al-Hakem was disfigured by a vice not 
common in the natures of men whose courage was 
never known to falter, an insatiable thirst for blood. 
Not a day elapsed when an order did not issue from 
the tyrant, long invisible to his subjects, .delivering 
some unhappy wretch to the executioner. At length 
the effects of remorse and prolonged intemperance 

474 History of the 

reduced the Emir to a condition bordering upon in- 
sanity. Oppressed with the memory of his crimes, 
haunted by the groans and imprecations of his ex- 
piring victims, he became the prey of frightful hal- 
lucinations, the offspring of a disordered brain. In 
the middle of the night he startled the palace with his 
shrieks of anguish. The slightest delay or opposition 
provoked him to fury. He summoned his drowsy 
councillors in haste from their beds as if for the dis- 
cussion of affairs of the greatest moment, and, as 
soon as they were assembled, dismissed them without 
ceremony. He reviewed his guards at midnight. 
The hours of darkness were usually whiled away by 
the women of the harem, who strove to amuse their 
capricious master with music, songs, and lascivious 
dances. For four years Al-Hakem continued in this 
deplorable condition, until relieved by a painful and 
lingering death. His character was not deficient in 
many of the attributes of greatness. He was brave, 
generous, sagacious, constant in friendship, the im- 
placable foe of hypocrisy, the welcome companion of 
philosophers and poets. Prompt in action and reso- 
lute in battle, his indecision at times of emergency 
nevertheless cost him an important part of his domin- 
ions. His reign of twenty-six years was filled with 
stirring events, events which too plainly indicate the 
declining tendency of the Saracen empire, which, 
deficient in all that constitutes the unity and perma- 
nence of a state and a prey to constant disorder, was 
only saved from precipitate destruction by the states- 
manship and military talents of its sovereigns. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 475 




Accession of Abd-al-Rahman II. Defection of Abdallah In- 
vasion of the Gothic March Embassy from the Greek 
Emperor Revolt of Merida Sedition at Toledo Incur- 
sion of the Normans Persecution of the Christians Death 
of Abd-al-Rahman His Love of Pomp His Virtues 
His Patronage of Art and Letters Ziryab His Versa- 
tility -Conspiracy of Tarub Stratagem of Mohammed 
His Bigotry -Toledo again Revolts Rise of the Beni-Kasi 
War with the Asturias Rebellion of Ibn-Merwan The 
Serrania de Ronda Ibn-Hafsun, his Origin and Exploits 
Death and Character of Mohammed Incipient Deca- 
dence of the Moslem Power. 

At the mature age of thirty-one, endowed with 
every talent which contributes to political success and 
intellectual eminence, accustomed for many years to 
the arduous details of civil affairs as well as to the 
direction of important military operations and the 
command of armies, Abd-al-Rahman II. ascended the 
throne of the emirate. A handsome person and an 
engaging address aided not a little to increase the 
general esteem which had been evoked by his capacity 
for business and his great services to the state. Aji 
index to his popularity may be discovered in the 
honorable titles bestowed upon him by the admiration 
and love of his subjects. While a youth he was known 
as Al-Modhaff er, The Victorious, and his benevolence 
and generosity had, long before his accession, acquired 
for him the suggestive appellation of the " Father of 
the Poor." The physical and mental infirmities of 
Al-Hakem had, for years before his death, induced 

476 History of the 

him to relinquish the cares of government, and to prac- 
tically abandon to his son and successor all the power, 
the duties, and the responsibilities of sovereignty. 

Domestic discord, which seemed to be a necessary 
incident of the inauguration of every prince of the 
Ommeyades, was not wanting to that of Abd-al-Rah- 
man. His great -uncle, Abdallah, in whose breast the 
fires of ambition still burned fiercely in spite of his 
advanced age, leaving his home at Tangier accom- 
panied by a considerable band of friends and retainers, 
landed in Andalusia and proclaimed himself Emir by 
virtue of his relationship to the founder of the dy- 
nasty. His prospect of success he regarded as the 
more certain on account of the positions occupied by 
his three sons, who had enjoyed the confidence and 
shared the favor of Al-Hakem, and who now exer- 
cised the most important commands in the gift of the 

The sanguine hopes of the venerable Abdallah were 
soon shown to be fallacious. No sooner had he landed 
when, attacked by the cavalry of Abd-al-Rahman, his 
forces were put to flight, and, driven from point to 
point, he was finally compelled to take refuge in 
Valencia. His sons, so far from sympathizing with 
his aspirations, did all in their power to thwart them, 
and by personal appeals to his interest and affection 
urged him to abandon his treasonable enterprise. 
Persuaded by their entreaties, which were materially 
promoted by the timely occurrence of an unfavorable 
omen, a portent never unheeded by the superstitious 
Oriental, he reluctantly consented to forego his pre- 
tensions to the crown and to swear fealty to his 
nephew. An interview was arranged; Abdallah was 
escorted by his sons into the presence of the Emir, and 
the latter, embracing him, not only pardoned his 
offence, but conferred upon him the government of 
Murcia, where he remained in peace until his death. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 477 

The embarrassment of Abd-al-Rahman, who, at the 
moment of his accession, found himself confronted 
with an insurrection whose consequences threatened 
to be serious, was not lost upon his enterprising 
neighbors of the Gothic March. They raised a nu- 
merous army, ravaged the Moorish territory at the 
North as far as the left bank of the Segre, returning 
without having encountered any opposition and laden 
with the spoils of war. This expedition was com- 
manded by Bernhart, Count of Barcelona, son of the 
renowned William of Toulouse, upon whom Louis 
had conferred the fief; the former suzerain, Bera, 
having been accused of treason and convicted by 
wager of battle, according to the martial customs of 
the age. The substitution of a foreigner for a native 
Goth whose aspirations for independence were a title 
to favor rather than a reproach with his subjects, who, 
for the most part of Spanish extraction, cherished the 
traditions and indulged the pleasing but delusive hope 
of the ultimate restoration of the organization and 
power of the ancient Visigothic empire, was a stroke 
of policy which augured ill for the success or per- 
petuity of the Frankish domination. 

Abd-al-Rahman, aware of the political necessity of 
making a demonstration to counteract the effects of 
the inroads that his helpless situation had invited, and 
not unwilling to inaugurate his reign with a brilliant 
military exploit, prepared to invade the Gothic March 
with the army already collected for the suppression 
of the insurrection fomented by Abdallah. The ad- 
vance guard, commanded by the wali Abd-al-Kerim, 
approaching from Valencia met the Christians not far 
from Barcelona, and, after a short but hotly contested 
engagement, drove them inside the gates. The Emir 
having arrived soon after with the main body, the city 
was besieged. A number of determined attempts to 
carry it by escalade having failed, and the force of 

478 History of the 

Abd-al-Rahman not being sufficient to maintain a 
thorough blockade, the intrenchments were finally 
abandoned; and the Moslem army, pouring over the 
country, in a few months succeeded in occupying the 
entire territory subject to the Count of Barcelona. 
The Christians, repulsed in every encounter, sought, 
in dismay and confusion, the most inaccessible heights 
and defiles of the mountains. The castles were 
stormed and their garrisons massacred. A feeling 
of terror seized the population, which included many 
of the most experienced warriors of the Frankish em- 
pire, who, allured by the princely grants held out to 
colonists and the prospect of a life of excitement and 
adventure, had established themselves in the Gothic 
March. But the expedition of the Moslems, although 
attended with such successful results, did not rise 
above the dignity of a foray. No attempt at a perma- 
nent occupation was made. The capital, which alone 
maintained its independence and which, deprived of 
all prospect of relief, could not have resisted a second 
attack, was not compelled to again endure the hor- 
rors of siege. Satisfied with the advantages he had 
gained and with the vengeance he had inflicted, Abd- 
al-Rahman returned in triumph to Cordova, which he 
entered amidst the plaudits and congratulations of 
the people. 

The declining fortunes of the Byzantine Empire, 
whose sovereign, Michael the Stammerer, found him- 
self unequal to the task of coping with his redoubtable 
adversary, Al-Mamun, Khalif of Bagdad, induced 
him, during the second year of the reign of Abd-al- 
Rahman, to despatch an embassy to Cordova to con- 
clude an alliance with the Sultan of the Ommeyades, 
the fame of whose dynasty had already reached the 
extreme limits of the Orient. The envoys of the 
Emperor of Constantinople were received with 
every evidence of distinction. A vast multitude at- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 479 

tended their entrance into the capital. They were 
lodged in the royal palace, and all the pomp of the 
most splendid and luxurious court in Europe was 
exhibited upon the occasion of their reception by the 
Emir. The magnificence of the gifts which they 
brought among which are mentioned a number of 
beautiful horses caparisoned with cloth-of-gold and 
silver excited the wonder of the multitude, for no 
such treasures had ever before been seen in Spain. 
An alluring prospect of conquest was held out by the 
subtle Greeks, accompanied by the tender of troops 
and munitions of war for the recovery of the lost in- 
heritance of the Ommeyades in Syria; but the pre- 
carious condition of the Emir, barely able to maintain 
his authority against the plots of his disaffected sub- 
jects, forbade, for the present, the formation of an 
offensive league with the monarch of the East, and 
the ambassadors were dismissed with a profusion of 
compliments and indefinite and conditional assurances 
of support in the future. A special envoy of the 
Emir, Yahya-al-Ghazzali, so named for his extraor- 
dinary charms of person and manner, and equally 
famous as a poet and a diplomatist, accompanied 
them, charged with the thanks of Abd-al-Rahman, 
and commissioned to present to the Emperor some 
scimetars and trinkets of the finest workmanship 
which the skill of the artisans of the Peninsula had 
been able to produce. 

During the same year an ambassador of a far dif- 
ferent character, and representing a power numeri- 
cally inferior to the smallest city acknowledging the 
sovereignty of the Emperor of the East, but whose 
geographical position imparted to its advances a pecu- 
liar and weighty significance, visited Cordova upon a 
similar errand. The recently organized duchy of Na- 
varre, an appanage of the Frankish empire, had 
grown restive under the extortions of its suzerain. 

480 History of the 

Accustomed to the largest individual liberty, the 
mountaineers could ill endure the exactions of irre- 
sponsible tyranny which the example of their neigh- 
bors and a delusive pretence of public advantage 
had insensibly imposed upon them. The bond of a 
common religious belief which united them with the 
Franks was but weak when compared with the deeply 
rooted national prejudice which the assumption of 
superiority by the vassals of Charlemagne and Louis 
did much to promote, and which caused the latter to 
be regarded with a far greater degree of execration 
than was entertained against the Mohammedans, the 
natural enemies of their country and their faith. 

The Navarrese envoy, whose uncouth manners ex- 
hibited a striking contrast to the courtly graces of 
the Byzantine nobles, was received by the Moorish 
sovereign, if not with distinguished ceremony, yet 
with courtesy and royal hospitality. A treaty was 
negotiated, which assured the mountaineers of the aid 
of the government of Cordova, and a free passage was 
granted to the Moslems for any expedition whose 
destination lay beyond the Pyrenees. The effects of 
the judicious policy which dictated this alliance soon 
became manifest. A few months afterwards a great 
army, under the Counts Eblus and Asenarius, de- 
pendents of the King of Aquitaine, traversed the 
sierra and invaded Spain. The city of Pampeluna 
was taken, and, after some desultory operations yield- 
ing little profit or glory, the Franks retired in im- 
aginary security. The defile of Roncesvalles once 
more became the scene of a fearful disaster; the in- 
vaders, surrounded by a host of mountaineers and 
Arabs, were cut to pieces, and the prisoners divided 
among the allies, the two counts being among those 
who survived the disgrace of incompetency and defeat. 
This military success was contemporaneous with the 
assertion of the independence and political organiza- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 481 

tion of the principality of Navarre, which were main- 
tained thereafter with the exception of a few years 
of nominal subordination to the Crown of the As- 
turias until its final incorporation into the dominions 
of France and Spain. 

The catastrophe of Roncesvalles encouraged the 
Moors to prosecute with greater activity the opera- 
tions against the Christians, whom the unsettled 
condition of affairs in the east and south of the 
Peninsula had long permitted to rest in peace. Three 
successive expeditions, all commanded by Obeydallah- 
Ibn-Abdallah, were sent to invade the enemy's coun- 
try, but the campaigns were not distinguished by any 
important action, and the determination and well- 
known ferocity of the mountaineers appear to have 
succeeded in preventing the Moslems from inflicting 
any serious damage upon the hostile terrritory. 

The vast system of public works inaugurated by 
Abd-al-Rahman, the splendor of his court, and the 
prodigal munificence with which he rewarded his 
favorites, entailed an immense expense upon the ad- 
ministration, and necessitated a new and oppressive 
burden of taxation to meet the constantly increasing 
demands on the treasury. The authorities, regardless 
of the experience of former reigns, augmented the 
public discontent by levying the bulk of the taxes 
on indispensable articles of daily consumption. The 
Jewish and Christian tributaries, by whom these ex- 
actions were most severely felt, were loud in their 
clamors, and it was not long before the Moslem popu- 
lation of the different cities joined in the increasing 
remonstrances against the arbitrary measures result- 
ing from the unprecedented extravagance of the 
court. The dissatisfaction was most pronounced at 
Merida, and this fact having been communicated, 
either orally or by correspondence, by the clergy of 
that city to their brethren at the court of Louis, the 

Vol. I. 31 

482 History of the 

Frankish monarch determined to avail himself of the 
information in furtherance of his own designs and 
for the confusion of his infidel neighbors. He there- 
fore addressed a letter to the people of Merida, pro- 
fessing great sympathy with them on account of the 
impositions of the government, exhorting them to 
exert their rights and regain their liberties, and 
promising that, in case they made an open demonstra- 
tion to redress their grievances, he would march to 
their support across the Pyrenees. The sincerity of 
Louis in making this offer may well be questioned. 
Whether or not his tender was made in good faith 
is of little consequence, as his attention was immedi- 
ately distracted from foreign intrigue by serious dis- 
turbances in his own dominions. A Gothic officer of 
rank named Aizon, having incurred the displeasure 
of his sovereign, fled from the court of Aix-la- 
Chapelle, and, betaking himself to the Gothic March, 
declared his enmity to the Franks, and especially to 
the Count of Barcelona. Through the influence of 
his name and nationality, aided by the habitual incon- 
stancy of the restless adventurers who composed the 
frontier population and the general prejudice exist- 
ing against the domination of the Franks, he soon 
found himself at the head of a powerful faction. 
Having seized the fortress of Ausona by treachery, 
and destroyed the town of Rosas which attempted 
to resist him, he sent his brother to Cordova with a 
request for aid, accompanied with an assurance that 
the disaffection was such as to warrant the hope of 
an easy recovery of the country by the Moslems. The 
appeal of Aizon was not suffered to pass unheeded. 
A considerable body of troops was assembled under 
the command of the veteran Obeydallah; the party 
of the malcontents increased daily in numbers and 
influence, and it was not long before the Count of 
Barcelona found himself deprived of authority over 

Moorish Empire in Europe 483 

all his domain except Gerona and the city from which 
he derived his title. 

Louis, who was then in Germany engaged in the 
settlement of a quarrel between two chieftains whose 
untamed spirits menaced the peace of the empire, had 
neither time nor available resources to suppress by 
arms an insurrection, however dangerous, in the other 
extremity of his dominions. But what he could not 
accomplish by military force he determined to at- 
tempt by negotiation, and three commissioners were 
accordingly appointed to persuade the colonists of the 
Gothic March to return to their allegiance. 

The embassy, composed of a priest and two nobles, 
received, as might have been expected, small con- 
sideration in an age where the arts of peace were held 
in disrepute and the palm of popular esteem was 
accorded to deeds of martial heroism, and the envoys 
accomplished nothing. They managed, however, to 
widely disseminate the report that an army of Franks 
was about to invade the country, a rumor which so 
alarmed Aizon and his followers that a second appeal 
was sent to Cordova, and a portion of the Emir's 
body-guard was ordered to reinforce the allies of the 
Moslems without delay. The army of the Franks 
arrived; but the enemy had retired to Saragossa, 
either dreading the result of an encounter with the 
hardy warriors of the North, or unwilling to incur the 
hazard of being compelled to relinquish the valuable 
booty which he had so easily secured. The suspi- 
cious conduct of the generals of the Frankish army 
in permitting the Moslems to retreat without molesta- 
tion brought upon them the reproach of treachery, an 
accusation which was so far sustained the following 
year in the National Council as to subject the culprits 
to the deprivation of their commands. 

Abd-al-Rahman had projected an invasion of 
France, and the preparations were completed; the 

484 History of the 

advance guard under Abd-al-Ruf who had filled 
the position of vizier under Al-Hakem was already 
on the way to the Pyrenees, and the Emir himself was 
about to depart with the main body of the army, when 
the unwelcome news reached him that Merida was in 

The unpopular system of taxation, already referred 
to, aggravated by the brutal conduct of the officials 
charged with its enforcement, had almost assumed 
the character of a persecution, while the public mind 
was agitated by the plausible representatives of dema- 
gogues and deluded with the hope of protection and 
encouragement from the powerful vassals of the 
Emperor. A certain Mohammed Ibn-Abd-al-Jebir, 
formerly a collector of the revenue, was the originator 
of the conspiracy. The governor, Ibn-Masf eth, saved 
himself by a hasty flight. The houses of the viziers 
were sacked, and their owners put to death or driven 
from the city. Mohammed appointed himself wali, 
seized the magazines and arsenals, and, having divided 
their contents among the inhabitants without distinc- 
tion of creed, as a return for this act of generosity 
appealed to the populace to confirm him in his usurped 
authority. The resolution of the insurgents, sustained 
by the knowledge of their resources and the impreg- 
nable character of their defences, was encouraged by 
the arrival of fierce adventurers, who were attracted 
in multitudes by the prospect of rebellion and pillage. 
The garrison increased until it reached the number of 
forty thousand. No insurrection of a local character 
had ever presented so menacing a front to the power 
of the emirate. The occasion demanded the exertion 
of the most prompt and energetic measures. The 
command of Abd-al-Ruf was hastily recalled, and 
that officer was entrusted with the conduct of the 
siege. The hardened veteran carried on his opera- 
tions as he would have done in an enemy's country. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 485 

The beautiful villas and gardens that surrounded the 
city were burned and laid waste. The growing crops 
were cut down. Preparations were made to carry the 
place by storm, which would necessarily have entailed 
the destruction of an immense amount of property 
and a massacre in which the innocent must have suf- 
fered equally with the guilty. Abd-al-Rahman, 
averse to an exercise of severity which threatened 
to weaken one of the greatest cities of the kingdom, 
and knowing that the unequal contest could not be 
long maintained, ordered Abd-al-Ruf to reduce the 
place by famine. A strict blockade was accordingly 
established. The ruffian soldiery of the garrison, 
cooped up within the walls, condemned to inaction 
and suffering for provisions, indulged their preda- 
tory inclinations by robbing and maltreating the 
citizens. The better class of the inhabitants, which 
had been induced to favor the insurrection by the 
expectation of compelling the withdrawal of oppres- 
sive edicts, saw, when too late, that it had exchanged 
a condition of comparative safety and prosperity for 
one of anarchy and the irresponsible despotism of 
armed banditti. A movement for the surrender of 
the city to the besiegers was quietly inaugurated by 
some loyal subjects of the Emir who had been forced 
to enlist under the banner of the rebels. Communi- 
cation was opened with Abd-al-Ruf. Favored by the 
darkness of the night, a strong detachment was ad- 
mitted; the walls were occupied, the armed mob was 
put to flight, the leaders escaped in the general con- 
fusion, and daybreak found the authority of Abd- 
al-Rahman once more established over the city of 
Merida. Resistance had been slight owing to the 
surprise, and but seven hundred rebels paid the 
penalty of treason. The fears of the people were 
soon allayel by the publication of a general amnesty, 
for the gentle disposition of Abd-al-Rahman re- 

486 History of the 

volted at the prospect of exemplary punishment for 
a rebellion which subsequent events demonstrated 
would have justified the most sanguinary retribution. 
Order had scarcely been restored at Merida when 
it became known that the contagion of insurrection 
had again spread to Toledo. A renegade named 
Hashim, who had long in secret meditated vengeance 
for persecution suffered by his family under Al- 
Hakem, taking advantage of some trifling cause of 
popular discontent, raised the standard of revolt. The 
wali being absent, the mob, who welcomed with eager- 
ness every occasion of opposing the authorities, found 
little trouble in expelling the garrison and the adhe- 
rents of the Emir. Hashim, whose success had sur- 
passed all expectations, as soon as his partisans were 
organized, extended his operations to the surround- 
ing country. His following received accessions daily 
from the brigands who infested the mountain dis- 
tricts, and the floating population, always on the 
alert for plunder, that swarmed in the purlieus of 
the great cities. Mohammed-Ibn-Wasim, the wali 
of the frontier, having attacked the rebels, was 
beaten in several engagements; exulting in the 
promises of its citizens, Toledo maintained a suc- 
cessful resistance against the entire resources of the 
emirate, and Ommeyah, the son of Abd-al-Rahman, 
was forced to retire in disgrace from before its walls. 
At length the army of Hashim fell into an ambus- 
cade planned by an officer who commanded a force 
stationed at Calatrava, the Toledans were defeated 
with great loss, and, soon afterwards, the city was 
taken by storm. Accounts* vary as to the fate of 
Hashim, but it appears from the most reliable sources 
that he fell into the hands of the troops of the Emir 
and was beheaded without ceremony. The incapacity 
of the government of Cordova to deal with its do- 
mestic foes may be inferred from the duration of this 

Moorish Empire in Europe 487 

outbreak, whose importance must have called forth 
the most vigorous attempts to suppress it, for during 
a period of eight years Toledo enjoyed absolute in- 
dependence in the heart of a hostile monarchy. This 
immunity was, in some degree, due to a second insur- 
rection which broke out in Merida while the prestige 
of the victorious Toledans was at its height. Moham- 
med, who had fled to Lisbon when the city had been 
taken, returned unexpectedly; having again sum- 
moned the populace to arms, he divided the contents 
of the magazines as before, and, calling together his 
outlaws, renewed the scenes of license and disorder 
which had formerly led to his expulsion. Abd-al- 
Rahman, apprized of this new disaster, raised an 
army of forty thousand men, of which he assumed 
command in